Nutrience Grain Free Subzero Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nutrience Grain Free Subzero product line includes 9 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 Northern Lakes [A]
- Nutrience Subzero Canadian Pacific [A]
- Nutrience Subzero Puppy Fraser Valley [G]
- Nutrience Subzero Small Breed Prairie Red [A]
- Nutrience Subzero Large Breed Prairie Red [A]
- Nutrience Subzero Small Breed Fraser Valley [A]
- Nutrience Subzero Large Breed Fraser Valley [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
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, vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc sulfate, 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 acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||20%||30%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||40%||25%|
The first two ingredients in this dog food include chicken and turkey. Although they are quality items, raw poultry 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, 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 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 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, quality items inclusive of moisture. Fish is naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
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 eight 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.
This recipe also contains 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.
Next, we 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.
Yeast extract is also a controversial item. It 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.
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 Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrience Subzero 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
10/02/2018 Last Update
- 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 ↩
- 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. ↩
- L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances ↩