Nutrience Grain Free Subzero (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

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

The Nutrience Grain Free Subzero product line includes 3 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Nutrience Subzero Prairie Red [A]
  • Nutrience Subzero Fraser Valley [A]
  • Nutrience Subzero Canadian Pacific [A]

Nutrience Subzero Fraser Valley was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutrience Subzero Fraser Valley

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon, chicken liver, chicken heart, turkey liver, turkey heart, herring, cod, cod liver, peas, red lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sweet potatoes, chickpeas, whole eggs, natural chicken flavor, sun-cured alfalfa meal, freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried pumpkin, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried green mussels, freeze-dried cod liver, freeze-dried kelp, salmon oil, herring oil, coconut oil, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, broccoli, apples, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, juniper berry extract, ginger, fennel, chamomile, 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, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, l-lysine, dl-methionine, chicory root extract, Yucca schidigera extract, yeast extract, thyme extract, glucosamine hydrochloride, rosemary extract, taurine, chondroitin sulfate, l-carnitine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis 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) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis38%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%20%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%40%25%
Protein = 35% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 25%

The first two ingredients in this dog food include chicken and turkey. Although they are quality items, raw poultry 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The next two ingredients include chicken meal and turkey meal. Poultry meals are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

The fifth ingredient is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 four items listed are nutrient rich organ meats.

  • Chicken liver
  • Chicken heart
  • Turkey liver
  • Turkey heart

Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The next two items include herring and cod. Fish is naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

Although they are quality items, raw fish 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

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

Next, this food also includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

In addition, we note the inclusion of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is 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.

Next, we also find 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.

We also note this food contains 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.

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.

Nutrience Grain Free Subzero Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrience Subzero 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 42%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% 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, chickpeas and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing an abundance of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutrience Grain Free Subzero is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats 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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Notes and Updates

05/17/2017 Last Update

  • Cathy Koh

    Wow this is cheaper than acana and the volume of the bag is bigger, but my dog drinks and pees alot on this food so acana is the best for me.

  • LunaLove

    Has anyone tired Forza10 and is it like this food?

  • Andrew

    There is now a sub zero puppy food. I will be using it when we take our 9 week old Springer the end of this month. Would love to see a review.

  • latigra

    Thank for replying. My dog is on limited ingredient Acana and is doing well for the first time since we got him 10 months ago.

  • Alice Maida

    Hi, she is not able to eat the new formula in USA plant. Such a shame. She did wonderful on it for 4 years. Now with the new formula she has a lot of itchy skin and ear inflammation. Need to find another food, not easy.

  • latigra

    Just curious,why can”t you dog eat Acana or Orijen anymore?

  • Storm’s Mom

    I think it’s only available in some parts of the US.. the northeast, I think it was. At any rate, Storm’s been on the Canadian Pacific (fish) one for a while now (he’s 3/4 of the way through the medium-sized bag), after being on the Prairie Red one before that (small bag). What I’ve found with the bigger bag is that the big pieces (equivalent to the kibble bits’ size) of freeze dried that I saw in the small bag have been reduced to tiny pieces in this bigger bag. About halfway through the bag, I dumped the contents out upside down, and there were no bigger pieces in it. So, I honestly feel that, unless you buy the small bags (and perhaps get lucky, as I may have, with getting the big pieces in the small bag) feeding the non-Subzero Grain Free is probably just as good as feeding the Subzero, because you really don’t get the benefit of the freeze-dried bits as much as I would’ve expected/liked.

  • Alice Maida

    I live in USA and I was told this is not available here. It looks like a great food and I would like my German Shepherd to try. She can no longer eat Acana and Orijen. Hope it comes here soon!

  • Alex Di Blasio

    My one year Old English Bulldog has excelled on this! Nice poops, loads of energy but also calm, great coat and teeth (i realize his still young to accurately assess teeth) He started off is life on Holistic Select Grain Free Fish which became hard to get because they sold and our local dealer lost its rights & I was recommended to try Sub Zero and its worked well for us

  • Storm’s Mom

    Ever since Storm’s ill-fated (literally) experience with Merrick Backcountry a year ago or so (see my post on the Backcountry page on here for the story on that), I’ve been reluctant to try another kibble with freeze-dried bits again because I’m not entirely sure whether or not that kibble, or kind of kibble, caused that days-long emerg stay for him. It was the only kibble with freeze-dried bits he’d ever had, so our only experience with freeze-dried bits was not a good one. However, I really like Nutrience Grain Free kibbles and canned (and even their Natural line isn’t too bad), and I finally saw SubZero in a store here, so thought I’d give it a go, fully prepared for another trip to emerg, if need be. We’re at the end of a small bag, he’s been eating it for about 2 weeks (he’s 26lbs), and no emerg trips! 🙂 In fact, he’s doing really well on it (all the things I look for, physically and mentally), and he loves it! Pheeeeeew!! I’ve got a coupon for $5 off a bag so I think I’ll try him on the Subzero Canadian Pacific next (it’s the Prairie Red he’s currently eating).

  • Jenna

    I was extremely disappointed with the Nutrience Sub Zero. My 12 week old puppy was on Acana to start with. I was then in a pet store that didn’t sell Acana, but I was promised that the Nutrience Sub Zero was equally as good. I made the switch and my puppies fur became so dry that she got dandruff. I decided to wait a few weeks to see if anything changed but it didn’t. I changed her back to the Acana and within a couple of days she had her beautiful soft puppy fur back and no dandruff. Won’t be buying this product again.

  • Sherry

    My 3 year old Golden Doodle started to have mini seizures after I switched her food to Nutro Dog food. After having a seizure every month it was recommended to me in the petsmart to switch her to the Nutrience Sub Zero Canadian Pacific by a staff member that had a dog with seizures that used it and it stopped their dogs seizures. It has been a month and a half an no seizures plus she has a higher energy level again.

  • Blam Blam Blam FTC

    Update- Walter loves the Prairie Red, but not so much the Canadian Pacific. With the Red, he will destroy every last bit of kibble and look for more. The Pacific will sit half eaten for the day until he gets hungry enough. So Red it is.

    His coat is awesome with this stuff and he has a ton of energy.

  • Sepi Niki

    I just switched from feeding acana to this food, I’ve noticed my dogs are drinking less water. But the best part is that for the first time in two years his eyes don’t discharge red stuff and his face is starting to clear up and I see the red stains around his mouth growing out and the new hair is all white again. My dogs also have fat bumps, if it goes away with this food, that would be a miracle. So far I see no changes in the fat bumps yet. I used pulsar few month ago the fat bumps started to dispear at first, but after a month he got even more of them. I have switched foods so much in the past two years it’s crazy. I have switched brands, protin source to even cooking at home, I’m a bit exhusted I hope this food works for a while, I’ll switch between the protein source next bag and I hope it those not give my babies issues. As I’m liking seeing there face starting to look clean again. That red stain drives me crazy.

  • Lor74

    Here is my follow up: she has been exclusively on the Sub Zero for a month. Her fur is soft and she is barely scratching at all. The food agrees with her very well and she has no gas. Her energy levels are high. She has fish breath, but the smell is not coming out of her body. The only negative that I have is the incredibly high cost of the food.

  • Lor74

    I just started my 8 year old Golden Doodle on the Sub Zero all fish blend. It has been a week so far mixing the new food with what is left of the VetDiet lamb food that she has been eating for the past year. We are already seeing a big difference in her energy levels. She has always been active, but the past few days has her bouncing like a puppy! I am hoping that after a short period exclusively on the new food, we will see even more benifits with her skin, allergies, etc…

    I will follow up in a month.

  • Talent Hounds

    We just did a review for them and Kilo the Pug is really loving the Fraser Valley. I like the ingredients. Very happy to read your review as confirms what I thought. Thank you.

  • Dayna Bonnie Shugar

    Recently started Prairie Red with Ricky, my Malshi (Maltese/Shih Tzu). All good so far! Pardon the expression, but his poo poo is great 🙂

  • Justin CNS

    My frenchie is doing well on the prairie red. We had him on the grain free Ocean Fish before and I think he just got tired of it completely. Came home with this and he ate it up!!! Even begging for seconds.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Glad to hear this.. Subzero is next on my list to buy/try. Just about to start on Holistic Blend GF Marine 5 for the 1st time, have 2 small bags of that then it’ll be on to the Subzero Prairie Red!

  • Blam Blam Blam FTC

    Just started my puppy on this and he is hoovering it on every feeding- so he must love the taste! Happy to see the quality is top notch too.