NutriSource Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

NutriSource Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The NutriSource Dog Food product line includes 10 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.

  • NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice [A]
  • NutriSource Senior Chicken and Rice [M]
  • NutriSource Super Performance (5 stars) [A]
  • NutriSource Lamb Meal and Rice (3.5 stars)[A]
  • NutriSource Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice [A]
  • NutriSource Performance Chicken and Rice (5 stars) [A]
  • NutriSource Small and Medium Breed Puppy (5 stars) [A]
  • NutriSource Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice (3.5 stars) [A]
  • NutriSource Weight Management Chicken and Rice (3.5 stars) [M]
  • NutriSource Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal and Rice (3.5 stars) [A]

NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), white rice, oatmeal, fish meal (a source of fish oil), beet pulp-dried, turkey and chicken flavor, flax seeds, dried brewers yeast, salt, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), lactic acid, glucosamine hydrochloride, choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), chondroitin sulfate, Yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

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

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

The ninth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

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, flaxseed is 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.

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

NutriSource Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, NutriSource 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 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

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 46% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast and flaxseed in this recipe, and the pea protein contained in another other recipe, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

NutriSource is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may want to check out our review of NutriSoure Canned Dog Food.

NutriSource 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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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

09/25/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    My dog is allergic to chicken… but she got switched from nutrisource to avoderm (been on avoderm 6 days) when she started nawing on her feet… which is why she is on NB Limited ingredient diet lamb…

  • InkedMarie

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t NB the brand that almost all of their foods contain chicken? If yes then I’m not surprised about the chewing. Chicken is a high allergen

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    i dont mind giving her until the bag i empty to see if it does anything for her or not.. nutrisource is the only food she has had tho that didnt make her paws break out.. she had just beeen eating grass like a goat!!!

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    See she had only been on avoderm for about 6 days before she started crunching (the sound was aweful) on her feet..which is why i just took it back to the store and they gave me store credit and i got the natural balance friday.. after i left the vets office… and i started her on the pills friday morning… the vet said they will take a few days to kick in…

  • Betsy Greer
  • Pattyvaughn

    It used to say on the bag. I believe it was under the feeding guidelines.

  • Pattyvaughn

    That depends on a few factors, like have you eliminated everything that is causing a reaction, how much histamine is already in the system, how quickly she eliminates the histamine already in the system, and how sensitive she is. The pills can mask some of her symptoms too, so I would try to get her off of them as quickly as possible, then give it 2 weeks, as many as 4. It took 2 1/2 weeks for me to be positive that the new diet was working on my dog and 2 1/2 months for the hair to regrow and every sign of a problem to be gone.

  • Vance

    Need calorie count for one cup of Nutri Source Adult chicken and rice formula – thank you

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    3-5 days with the new LID food and her new allergy pills she started taking Friday too?? How long till the symtoms completely disappear???

  • Pattyvaughn

    If a new food is going to help, you should start to see some improvement fairly soon, 3 to 5 days, but don’t expect every symptom to go away that quickly, just improve. Less itching, less licking, less chewing.

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    I have her on natural balance LID and she is eating her paws off!! I think i will switch back to nutrisource… since she did well on that and try the grain free as you have suggested… i told the vet this too on friday and he thinks if once shes on the grain free and if she keeps eating grass as she did before i may just have to add stuff to her food… she does have allergies tho.. the vet said.. its just a matter of finding out what… shes only been on the natural balance limited ingredient lamb & rice since friday… about how long before she SHOULD stop chewing off her paws do you think… cause ive even put her in allergy meds two in the morn and two at night and shes still chewing and licking… ahhh i just dont know what to do for her..

  • Storm’s Mom

    I second the NutriSource Grain Free recommendation (great food at a great price!!) …and second the idea that it may very well be an allergy/sensitivity to grains as well as chicken. Could also have been the potato that your girl is now detoxing from..but in all of those cases, NutriSource Grain Free Lamb should help.

  • tam

    had a questions about this, I am a breeder an have been feeding NS for about a year now. I am like you my boys are doing wonderful on it, looking and weight is right where I would like it to be. my girls are looking good but are missing their heat’s so now I am wondering if it is the food. I have NOT changed anything else. what are you feeding your females now?

  • Scott

    Try the Nutrisource Grain Free Lamb Meal or Chicken. They also have single source protein options in the Pure Vita brand which is made by Nurtisource. It may be an allergy to grain. I have a 1 year old APBT that has bad allergies and a sensitive stomach. We thought it was chicken, so we switched to Lamb and it was still a problem. The folks at the local pet food store had us try a weeks sample of grain free and her problem cleared up. Just a thought. I have tried all the high end food names and the only one that my dog will eat and seems happy with has been Nutrisource and Natural Balance…however Nutrisource is more affordable and she seems to like it a bit better.

  • gwen

    Thanks HD Mom,
    Your right, I don’t want to take a chance. I guess I better backtrack and get him on the Nutrisource puppy food for awhile longer. He is going to be so mad at me. Ha!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi gwen –

    The NutriSource Grain-Free Lamb formula is appropriate for all life stages – meaning that it is, essentially, a puppy formula and is suitable for any age of dog. The only thing is all of the NutriSorce grain-free formulas are too high in calcium for large and giant breed puppies undergoing their rapid growth phase. At six months he’s nearing the age where calcium levels will be becoming less of a concern, however if it were me I’d keep him on the Large Breed Puppy (grain-inclusive) formula for until he’s at least 8 months old to be on the safe side – this formula does contain calcium levels appropriate for large breed growth.

  • gwen

    I just switch my 6 month old, 75# German Shephard from Large Breed Puppy Nutrisource Chicken and Rice to Grain Free Lamb Formula. I just felt he was sluggish on the chicken and he had discharge from his ears. He is doing great and loves the lamb! Now I am wondering if it is adequate for his growing needs? I am feeding him 3 1/2 cups to 4 cups a day. We live on a farm, so he is active and lean. Would love any advise or incite! Thanks!

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    I Have a problem… i switched my dog to nutrisouce lamb and rice cause she was having a problem with the canidae i think she has a allergy to chicken and she does not like TOTW’s wetlands formula… so she seems to like this dog food… problem is… now she is shedding ALOT and also she is eating grass ALOT 🙁 any suggestions?? If i have to change her food it needs to be in the same price range $40 thanks PLEASE PLEASE HELP ASAP!!! ps. today i just bought avoderm lamb and rice to see if she stops eating grass so darn much and shedding so much… i know if i switch her to grain free her shedding will stop but i cant afford it right now…

  • LadyBug

    I gave this food to my dogs for several months and the male dogs did fantastic. Over time, the girls did not do well at all. I’ve never had gender make any difference in a food before.
    I think that the addition of Rosemary (an abortificant!) and Yucca (steroidal properties) may be what messed with the girls. ??
    Whatever it was, when I took the girls off it, coats, thyroid, etc all improved. So I guess I recommend this food for most dogs, but for intact females – no. The boys, by the way really thrived on this food.
    As for sourcing ingredients, I understand that it is sourced in USA – with the exception of the vitamins. I understand from a lot of manufacturers that vitamin mixes for dog foods are no longer available in USA. The fish meal used in NutriSource last time I asked them was Tuna.

  • Missym9237

    Which Nutrisource did you feed for the shiny coats? Im thinking of switching from TOTW and Wellness but my 5 dogs all have beautiful coats and Im afraid of them possibly losing that or having issues with new food.

  • Hound Dog Mom


  • Leta Noakes

    Need calorie count for one cup of Nutri Source Large Breed Adult chicken and rice formula. Thank you

  • Baxdogg

    Thanks, Betsy. I will take a look at Nature’s Logic, I think there is a store near me that may sell it.

    I know there is an acupuncturist around here who advertises that she is very careful with the sources for her Chinese herbs because some are contaminated with something (heavy metals, maybe?). In any case, it is something to be aware of.

    I am just very leery of anything from China because there is so much corruption there that even something that is tested could in fact be hazardous. Not that the same thing couldn’t happen here…

  • Interestingly, I see an acupuncturist who practices TCM and take Chinese herbs she prescribed that are manufactured in China and have no concern about that as far as my health is concerned whatsoever.

  • Hi Baxdogg,

    From Susan Thixton’s site,, NutriSource uses all US ingredients with the exception of a vitamin / mineral premix from Asia. I’m not certain when that was written, so I would probably call or send them an email to verify that information is still current. That aside, I still use NutriSource in my rotation and don’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

    Now, what has quickly become one of my favorite kibbles is Nature’s Logic. Their kibbled, canned and raw diets are made with whole food ingredients and have no synthetic vitamins or minerals added; and it has no ingredients from China. Nature’s Logic is GMO free. I feel good about feeding it to my dogs and they both love it. Nature’s Logic also happens to be made in the USA by trusted manufacturers as well. I confidently recommend it. It’s a bit more expensive than the NutriSource and NV Prairie, but to me, it’s well worth it.

  • Baxdogg

    Does anybody know where Nutrisource obtains the ingredients for their products? Anything from China? Thanks!

  • tacticalcat

    Google Petflow they deliver Nutrisource for free, and their prices are great!

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  • Hound Dog Mom

    If she’s already 8-9 months old I wouldn’t worry about the calcium. Calcium is most critical from weaning to 6 months of age as the pup can’t regulate calcium absorption during this time period, after 6 months of age they begin developing the ability to regulate calcium absorption.

  • Fredy

    thank you for the detail information that you gave. i’ve read and printed out the worksheet that you did on large breed puppy food list. unfortunately here in indonesia it is not that easy to find those brands. the only brand that i can remember i saw in pet store is canine caviar and it is one of the most expensive one. i keep the list just in case i can find other brands in store next time

    my puppy is approximately around 8-9months old, she is rather small for german shepherd tho. maybe she is a mixed, but the vet told me she might be a pure breed .. just she is the smallest of the litters and maybe she didnt get enough nutrition when she was younger.
    i will try your suggestion on feeding her nutrisource performance formula, hope it suits her.

    thanks again for the information, i never really put in much thought about the calcium before. cos many people i met they even giving their large breed dog extra calcium tablet. in their mind it is beneficial since large dog need more calcium for the bones to grow faster and bigger also stronger…they thought. now i know the facts and became more aware of it.

  • Fredy

    thank you bryan, i think they have revised it straight away already regarding the large breed puppy =) yes i’ve been reading the thread, a very good one. thank you for the information.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi fredy –

    The NutriSource Performance and NutriSource Super Performance formulas are both free of corn gluten mean and meet the AAFCO nturient profiles for all life stages (meaning they’ve met the more stringent “growth” requirements and are suitable for puppies). These two formulas are also quite a bit higher in protein than the Large Breed Puppy formula, which is a big plus in my opinion. These formulas might be something to consider if you want to feed NutriSource to your puppy but need a larger kibble and don’t want corn gluten meal. I’m not sure how old your puppy is, but if he’s under 6 months old I would highly recommend checking the calcium levels in whichever food you decide to feed him. Look for a food with no more than 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 calories. I’m not sure if the NutriSource grain-inclusive foods have acceptable levels of calcium or not, you’d have to contact the company. Excess calcium intake has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, etc.) in large and giant breed puppies. The link Bryan provided you with will have a lot of information about nutrition for large breed puppies. However, if he’s already through his critical growth phase and over 6 months old, you don’t need to be as concerned.

  • I didn’t notice that. I’m wondering if Mike missed that.

    There’s an excellent thread in the forum regarding large breed dog foods. You can see it here and ask questions..

  • fredy

    hi, i dont know if this already been brought up or not.. i have a question regarding nutrisource product for large breen puppy.. in its ingredients it contains ‘corn gluten meal’. what i know is that anything that involve corn is not good for dogs. so how does this large breed puppy dry dog food go? is it still a 4star ratings?

    bcos currently im looking for a decent dog food (pretty good quality but not too expensive) for my german sheperd puppy, and i think the price for nutrisource is quite ok,compared to some other famous brands. but im just worry about that ‘corn gluten meal’ .. while the small n medium breed puppy doesnt contain corn gluten meal..why? i could have use that if only the kibble is in larger size. its just too small for my puppy.

    thank you for any reply =)

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  • cowgerl1

    I have been feeding nutri source for 8 months now to my breeding aussies and their pups, and wow what a huge difference it made in their coats, overall appearance and health. My dogs are fit and healthy!!! My mama dogs don’t blow their coats after having a litter like they did on other dog foods, that claim to be so great! I recomend this feed to everyone who buys my pups, and price wise it is about the same as other lower grade food, and i don’t have to feed near as much and get optimum results!

  • Courtney

    How would this food compare to Natural Balance Alpha Dog. I notice they both have the same amount of “stars” but I was wondering what would be the pros and cons to either.

  • Kenn712

     Betsy, I will take your word on it. I didn’t know buying a good dog food was so difficult. I am going to go with the Nutrisource because its sold at the feed store that is near my house petsmart is about 90 miles away from me.  Nutrosource seems alot better than Puppy Chow or Diamond dog food

  • Hi Kenn712,

    Based on the information I was provided by NutriSource, their Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Rice formula has an appropriate Calcium level of 1% which is fine for a large breed puppy.  Like you said, however, it does contain corn gluten meal as the sixth ingredient; but you can certainly choose it if you like.

    The NutriSource Adult Chicken & Rice is for all life stages from puppy to senior and would be fine for your pup as well as it too has an appropriate Calcium level.  I very confidently used the NutriSource Adult Chicken & Rice for my two month old Golden pup when I needed to make a fast switch from the Purina ProPlan the breeder had him on when I got him.  He tolerated it very well and I knew it was complete and balanced with appropriate Calcium levels.     

  • Pattyvaughn
  • Pattyvaughn

    The problem is that a lot of dog food companies only give their minimum calcium level.   HDM contacted 4 and 5 star food companies and asked for information on actual calcium levels.  NutriSource didn’t make her list.  That means their levels were too high or they didn’t give her the information.

  • Kenn712

    I all I really want to know is will Nutrosource Large puppy be a good food for my puppy that’s all I want to know. I just want my puppy to grow to be a healthy happy lazy dog that will love me

  • Kenn712

    All I really want to know is if I feed this to my puppy will she  be health and happy. I just care about my puppy

  • Pattyvaughn

    Well, I’m no longer working because I’m raising kids, but my eyes and brain still work just fine, so I do like to keep up with CURRENT research.  I was a CVT and a breeder of large dogs.  I won’t disagree with you that the things you mentioned are important, but many large breed puppy formulas were formulated based on old research that has been disproven and they have not been updated for the newer research, which by the way, is not that new.  So you should be able to find it and read it too.  Look for research that is not older than 10 years.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi BBB –

    Are you a veterinarian?

  • BBB

    Calcium levels are important but there isn’t one food sold commercially that has the potential to cause harm in a growing large breed puppy. Genetics, time of neutering, weight and injury are far more important in determing the orthopedice health of an animal. 

    I don’t think either you or Hound Dog Mom have the expertise to give the advice you so freely give. If you have some level of expertise let me know and I will retract the statement I made.  Reading something on another website does not make you an expert.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Foods labeled for “growth” (puppies) and “all life stages” are the same thing.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Calcium levels are VERY important in large breed puppies.  That’s why Hound Dod Mom has written the thread on the forum that Betsy sent you to.  Too much calcium is one of the factors controlling growth issues in large breeds and many large breed puppy foods don’t have appropriate calcium levels.

  • Kenn712

     Betsy, is it ok to feed a the large breed puppy the all stages life formulas. I have been reading about the calcium in dog foods how important is that for a large puppy?

  • Hi Kenn712,

    The other formulas are all life stages ~ I’d choose one of those over the puppy formula anyway.  

  • Kenn712

    I went to the NutroSource website and found that the puppy food has Corn Gluten as its sixth ingredient. Maybe the puppy formula needs to be checked out a little more.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kenn712 –

    I’m not sure what the calcium levels are in the NutriSource formulas as they aren’t listed on the site – but a large breed puppy should be eating a food with no more than 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 calories. Personally, the Large Breed Puppy formula is lower in protein than anything I’d feed my dogs. If I were going to feed one of the grain-inclusive NutriSource formulas (assuming the calcium levels were acceptable) I’d go with the Super Performance or the Small and Medium Breed Puppy.

  • Hi Kenn712,

    I really like NutriSource products.  The food you’re feeding is a good choice for a large breed puppy and it has an appropriate Calcium level of 1%.  I had actually contacted the company several months ago and was provided that information by way of a couple of Excel spreadsheets (which I’d be happy to share, but cannot open them right now due to my grumpy old computer at work).  I was just re-reading the email to which the spreadsheets were attached, as I recalled the CSR telling me that the large breed lamb formula has a calcium level that’s too high for a large breed puppy ~ I did see where she stated that again in the email, but cannot tell you for certain what the Calcium level actually is without being able to open the spreadsheet.  

    NutriSource has a good price point and loyalty rewards (buy 12 get one free) and has frequent coupons and weekly giveaways.  I feel it’s a trustworthy company and hasn’t had any recalls.       

  • Kenn712

    I have question on the NutriSource Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice. I have just started feeding a Black Lab puppy this food what is everyone opinion on the puppy formula. It is reasonable priced and seems like its a good food. I am looking a good puppy food at good price due to fact that I am not rich but I love dog I know it very important to feed your dog the best food you can afford any help would be great 

  • InkedMarie

    As a sheltie person who is sheltie-less right now, any chance you can share some pictures of your dogs?

  • WiseOldDogs

    Hi KJ,

     I just ran across this so I don’t know if you’ll get this or find it helpful, but here’s my recent experience: I’ve had Shelties for about 35 years and never had the knuckling over problem you mention- ever- nor have I heard of this in a Sheltie. Until last year. I purchased a nice 8 week old pup and she developed the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it started with knuckling over and within 10 days practically walking on her pasterns, just awful. She was a pretty big girl, growing fast so I switched her to adult formula and she tightened right up. It seems that the lower density of the food slowed her growth just enough. By the way, she was never overfed or fat, I run agility so I like to keep my dogs pretty trim, although never bony, you know just right.  Normally I feed puppy to 18mos, but for her I actually mixed the puppy with adult and she was fine. Now, she is a wonderfully sound, athletic agility prospect. Anyhow, while I was freaking out about the problem last year, I ran across a Hungarian study that was conducted on sheep guarding dogs. It seems that pups kept with the mother until 11 weeks, weaned naturally, never developed the problem but littermates weaned at the customary 8 weeks did tend to go through that knuckling over thing although they self-corrected eventually. I wish I would have saved the link to the study it was very interesting but perhaps if you google around you may find it. It seems the transition from mother’s milk was the issue as if it took time for the younger pups’ bodies to adjust…food for thought, any comments?

  • aimee


     I’ve never read that the primary wolf diet is small prey. They will take small prey to supplement if no large prey are available but the function of the pack is to bring down large prey.

    “Gray wolves prey primarily on ungulates – large,
    hoofed mammals such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, caribou, bison, Dall
    sheep, musk oxen, and mountain goats.”

    Alaska wolves: “The highest densities occur in Southeast Alaska, where Sitka black-tailed deer serve as the major food source for wolves.”

    “According to wolf expert L. David Mech, deer comprise about 95 percent of a Minnesota wolf’s diet.”

    So now that we’ve established that wolves’ primary prey are large ungulates let’s look at calcium.

    I couldn’t quickly find nutrient data on wild ungulates so I  used a cow.

    Assuming the wolf ate 8.8 lbs of meat/fat it would take in approx. 5300 kcals, .75 grams Ca, and 8 grams phosphorus.

    On avg. 100 grams fresh bone ( approx 3 ounces) yields 16.6 grams Ca and  8.3 grams phos.

    Adding in the Ca/Ph from the meat/fat totals 17.4 grams Ca and 16.3 grams phos  so close to 1.1:1 ratio.

    Soo…. we balanced the phos, in nearly 9 lbs of meat with only 3 ounces of bone. A few carpal/hock bones or a bit of rib ought to do the trick. See…most of the bones can be left behind: )

    Ok for laughs and giggles let’s calculate out the Ca on an energy basis. 16.6 grams of Ca in 5300 kcals.. Hey happy coincidence!!!  3.13 grams/1000 kcals  an appropriate amount for a growing large breed dog!  

  • Pattyvaughn

    The funny thing is on this thread you’re still coming up as samejohn, but in recent comments 2 of these posts say johnandchristo:-)

  • samejohn different PC

    LOL Patty,

    When we stopped working in the adult day care (my co-worker and I). We both at the same time said that we would be one day together again, when we needed 
    to be in a day care . Maybe it has started. This really s**ks I cant even post a picture of Christo. Just to warn everyone when I fix what ever Freya did I’m posting like a million pictures of my dog!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Poor John

    See this is what happens when you semi-retire, you start forgeting things, like who you are.  Love you anyway, whatever you’re calling yourself.

  • samejohn different PC

    OK, its not letting me change back, maybe because I’m on my kids lap top?

    Sorry guys.

  • johnandchristo


  • johnandchristo

    Dr Mike,

    Thanks but I ready to wave the white flag! Its been fun, but being semi retired I’m happy to forget most of what I learned. But you ARE right so Back to johnand christo. 

  • No problem, John. We all look forward to following your calcium discussion with Aimee – no matter what name you use.

  • samejohn different PC

    Aimee, wolves don’t normally get big prey. Yellowstone ect is not a environmental norm.
    In most cases they eat small prey and consume it all.
    mice, rabbits ect. In any case if they ate all meat/organs and little bone, the calcium phosphorous ratio would be off. So to say I’m presuming that they(a wolf) eats a diet high in calcium is an inaccuracy.If a wolf as you said eats mostly meat/organs they would be getting to much (way to much)  phosphorous, without including the whole prey,
    bone and all their skeleton would be to soft. among other problems. That is not debatable. It makes no sense at all. They have to eat bones because they are primarily meat eaters and meat is very high in phosphorous.               

  • aimee


    It has been reported in multiple sources that there is a difference in Ca absorption between young and mature animals.

    “young animals with a very functional paracellular, passive absorption of calcium can not refuse an excess of dietary calcium. This is unlike mature animals where the paracellular pathway has been sealed in a way that calcium and other molecules cannot diffuse through the intestinal wall. (Hazewinkel in Delaney, Fascetti ed.s 2012)

    You are presuming that a wolf diet is “high calcium”. I’m not so sure it is. Wolves generally take large prey items and eat organs, muscle and leave bone and hide, only coming back to scavenge on it if another kill isn’t made.

    When feeding high calcium (over 4 grams Ca/1000kcals) commercial foods we may well be exceeding Mother Nature’s natural wolf pup diet.

    There is a constant interplay between calcitonin, PTH and Vit D to maintain serum calcium levels. PTH suppression and calcitonin increase occurs whenever calcium is outside range.

    European Pet Food Industry Federation sets the maximum Ca level at 4 grams calcium/1000 kcals during growth. NRC safe upper limit is 4.5 grams ca/1000 kcals. Not sure if that answers your question. I personally won’t feed anything over 3.5 grams calcium/1000 kcal to a growing large breed.

    Umm, no John, LOL I don’t agree ! I think you just like to tease me as you know I have absolutely no problem with K3, grains and potato in foods : ).

     P.S. Up to what level of calcium in the food do you think is safe and why? 

  • samejohn different PC

    Hi Dr Mike,

    I am sorry if I caused any confusion. I really should have done just that, log in with my normal screen name. I’m on my little girl’s lap top and she normally does not let it go, so I was really pressed for time. Hope this does not cause me to lose any points in the great calcium debate. LOL. Aimee is pretty good two advils and one black coffee later, I’m wondering what I’ll have to remember next, I have not thought about the calcitonin hormone in a very very long time. I’m going to try hooking up a mouse then I will be back,
    as my normal black lab self. 

  • Hi John,

    Can’t you simply log in using JohnAndCristo using your new PC?

  • samejohn different PC

    Hi Aimee,

    I should explain why I,m not posting as johnand christo. Freya sat on my lap top and its not working right now hope to be back on it soon.


  • samejohn different PC

    Hi Aimee,

    I dont think pups and dogs differ that much. Wolf pups eat the same thing as adults. from 4 weeks or so on.
    I do agree that if we are talking about an animal with questionable genetics, then by all means why not be as careful as you can.  You wont see a wolf with bad hips because nature will in all likelihood not not allow that animal to pass on its genes. Mama wolf (lol) does not go to store and get low calcium wolfpup chow. So the argument is at best a postulate. A little extra calcium is benign. What is a very unsubtle,and a quick threat to large breed growth is over feeding. If they grow to fast. The end results are not deleterious at all, they are quite pronounced and can happen at as early as 11 months. Calcitonin when the thyroid is working right does its job. How high do you think the calcium levels need to be to suppress a PTH? I said a little high. Its more unfortunate that AAFCO allows k3,
    and grains, potato and other crap a dog should not eat in dog food, that’s the stuff that really has a deleterious effect, don’t you agree? A little extra calcium is not going to harm a healthy pup. 🙂   

  • aimee


    I’m having difficulty following you. Calcium absorption is both active and passive in young animals. The passive pathway drops off with maturity. Likely there is biological variation when this occurs. Passive absorption is non controlled and calcium absorption is directly proportional to intake. High levels of calcium in the diet can result in levels in the blood which elevate calcitonin and suppress PTH.

     Calcitonin and PTH are integral in bone remodeling. The current thought is that the elevated calcitonin and surppressed PTH levels in dogs on high calcium diets prevent normal remodeling from occurring resulting in the growth abnormalities seen.

    It is most unfortunate that AAFCO allows dietary calcium levels that have proven deleterious to large breed growth.

  • samejohn different PC

    Sorry I meant 4 weeks not four months.

  • samejohn different PC

    The principal physiological function of vitamin D in all vertebrates is to maintain serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations in a range that supports cellular processes, neruromuscular funtion, and bone ossification.

    Once wolf pups stop getting milk from their mother, it starts to happen after 4 months the bio-availiabilty(or not ) of calcium becomes  as accessible to them as adults.

    6 months to me sounds like a scientific uncertainty at best. That in no way constitutes scientific confidence
    for any population group, or sub population that   may or may not have a distinct and exceptional sensitivitie to any adverse effect of a nutrient. This especially true when we are talking about a slightly high calcium level that even AAFCO allows for.

  • aimee


     Calcium absorption is not Vit. D dependent in puppies 6 months or under. It is a passive process which prevents puppies from being able to guard against excessive dietary levels.

     It is for this reason that high Ca. diets have significant and deleterious effects on bone development.

  • Johnandchristo

    I agree with much of the info posted on high calcium and 
    the problems that may or may not manifest. Its important to understand that calcium in its self is not a threat to bone development. Calcium absorption is vitamin D dependent (via an active and passive mechanism ) for example; calcium deposition is impaired in rickets because of inadequate vitiamin D intake or synthesis.

    One other problem that may or may not occur ; bone growth could be retarded by excessive vitamin A. Especially endochondral bone formation.

    If a food has slightly high calcium but normal vitamin D the calcium excreted primarily through the intestines, but also through the urine.

    Reduced calcium absorption could result from either steatorrhea, poor fat absorption that reduces vitamin D uptake by mucosal cells, impermeability of intestinal mucosa, fatty acids forming inslouble soaps with calcium and carrying them out of the body.

    During times of stress fecal excretion can be twice the dietary intake.

    Calcium status is affected by need. If need is low, absorption from the intestines might be as low as 10 percent.

    Further more, calcium interacts with other minerals, one being phosphorus. if the dietary ratio is right excess calcium is removed from bone tissue and blood levels are are depressed.

    One more salient point, Hypocalcemia has been associated with a magnesium deficiency. THE CONDITION does not respond to the therapeutic administration of calcium alone, but requires CONCOMITANT magnesium therapy.

    The risk is greater if the dog is over fed. If the dog has bad genetics, if a food is a little high in calcium it is highly unlikely to have any effect at all. Over exercise is also a Big reason for problems. 

    I ran two different senior nutrition programs concurrently, one was for healthy seniors and one for seniors that had serious health problems and memory loss. It was mandatory to have a background in nutrition. I can say with certainty that high calcium in it self has little or no effect on bone development. One quick example of why, if a person with a thyroid problem, is told by their doctor to take extra calcium,they are always given a script for a mega dose of vitamin D. I could go on and on. Hope this elucidates the question. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Kjboxers –

    The only factors I’m aware of that have been linked to growth issues are excess calcium, overfeeding, overexercising and poor genetics (and this is generally only for large/giant breeds and breeds predisposed to developing dysplasia). If by “richness” you’re referring to protein and fat levels – as long as calories are controlled there is no link between high levels of protein and fat and growth issues. I’ve never owned small or medium breed dogs, only large and giant breeds. I currently own 3 bloodhounds. My 2 year old female was fed grain-free high protein dehydrated foods (>30% protein) and high protein/high fat grain-free canned foods as puppy and didn’t have any issues. My current pup (5 months) has been on a high protein (40%-50%) high fat (30%-40%) raw diet since she came home at 8 weeks and is growing perfectly.

  • Kjboxers

    Thank you so much.. this was an answer I was looking for along with the reasoning behind it. I am still concerned with calcium levels tho.. as there can be “knuckle over” troubles with boxer puppies which can actually be corrected quickly  and permanently by feeding a low quality food for 1 week. So I think the “richness” factor of some foods can actually cause trouble with medium breeds such as boxers. Do you have any info regarding that? as to why that would happen? I’ve tried researching that trouble as I have had a couple of pups in the past to knuckle over.. these 2 pups were not born here but some puppies I had purchased from another  breeder. So I don’t know if it was the change from low quality to better quality food that caused it or what happened, but it was corrected by going back to “cheap” food for a week and slowly introducing better food (RC)
     Any thoughts on this..or if the 32/21 Nutrisource would possibly cause this trouble also?  

  • Kjboxers

    to clarify for mike p benefit… an 80 lb boxer is probably an overweight boxer. But that can be the case with some of our boxer pups at maturity, I have really nothing to do what the families feed or how much they exercise our pups once they get them home. but I was just using that as an overall example of the weight of our average puppies at maturity. . I am just concerned with getting our boxer babies started on the RIGHT type/formula of food for the “average” of our adults at maturity. And the small/medium breed puppy starter has the max weight at maturily set at 50 lbs.  but the Large breed is BIG or GIANT sized.. so our boxers fall in the middle.. I need MIDDLE. HELP please. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Kjboxers –

    Breed specific and size specific foods are just marketing, nothing more. The only instance in which a certain sized/breed dog has different nutritional needs is with large and giant breed puppies (they need controlled calcium levels). However – as you said – boxers are considered a medium breed so calcium levels don’t matter as much. Looking at the two Nutrisource formulas the small and medium breed puppy formula is 32% protein and 21% fat while the large breed puppy formula is 26% protein and 14% fat. If it were me, I’d go with the small and medium breed puppy formula because the fat and protein levels are higher.

  • Kjboxers

    I can’t seem to find that post list. I need a decision today and must place an order.

  • Kjboxers

    I am asking about what to start boxer puppies with. Our average adult boxer is males 72 lbs.. females 55 lbs. I didn’t say we had 80lb boxers. Thats not even normal for a boxer  Boxers are considered a medium breed. and according to AKC standards are considered a medium breed.. But my question was since the Nutri-Source bag guidelines on the puppy chow says medium breed but that cut off weight is 50 lbs.. should I go with the large breed formula puppy starter or stick with the small / medium breed starter for a litter of boxer puppies. since they fall above the top end of the “medium / small ” breed on the bags guidelines. 

  • Mike P

     I don’t think you want an 80lb boxer.I would go large and feed less.I would seriously think about feeding Brothers Complete.My 68 lb bitch eats 2 cups a day and I’m done with experimenting with other brands as she does so well on this grain free/potato free diet.A lean muscular Boxer is a happy healthy Boxer.Brothers is all life stages…JMO though

  • Hi KJBoxers,
    You’ve asked a very important question. You may wish to visit our Diet and Health Issues forum. Look for the topic called Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition.

    HoundDogMom has posted some very helpful information to help guide you. And you can leave a question for her. She very knowledgeable about this specialized topic.

    Hope this helps.

  • Kjboxers

    I am trying to decide what to start our boxer puppies on . I’ve lost a distributor for Royal Canin puppy starter which is what I’ve used for years with very good results. I’ve used the Large breed formula, Maxi-Puppy (maturity size ranges 56lbs-100) which encompasses our weight ranges at maturity very well.. . I was recommended this food (the puppy formula) Nutri Source “starter” to be exact. But the weight level difference between the small/medium breed formula and the large breed puppy formula is at a range to where my matured puppies would overlap.. I mean to say the small / medium breed formula stops at the 50lb range.. whereas the large breed formula is a bit over the top of our breeds weight at maturity.. So I guess my question is should I use the small/ medium breed puppy formula or the large breed formula for a puppy that matures somewhere between the 55 lbs & 80 lbs.. what would everyone suggest? thanks for any helpful info you can provide.

  • Mike P

     Done…Thanks Betsy

  • Hey Mike, click it again to “unlike.”

  • Mike P

     Damn I hit like when I wanted to hit relpy.Walter nobody is  saying they are expert’s.We are simply sharing real life experiences about the way we feed our dogs with the hope it will help someone.To slam a guy that has created this wonderful site is beyond me.Hound Dog Mom is a valued member of this community and your remark to her is a good example of your lack of class.Go play somewhere else.By the way having a fantasy is a healthy thing so I will keep it going.

  • debbie

     well I am NOT a expert, not here or on any dog forum.. just a doggie mom of a sweet cocker spaniel, and a big animal lover and advocate, as I also am with children.. BUT, tell me please, in your opinion what dog food do you feel is a high quality one? interested in your answer….

  • Have you tried the Nutrisource Grain Free formulas?Look at Dogswell Nutrisca or Wellness Core Ocean.  They both have more fiber.  Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Diets have less fiber but more ash content that also firms up stools.

  • Pattyvaughn


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Lol I was going to reply and accidentally hit like, good thing I noticed. Decided it’s not worth the time to reply. Just another troll. 🙂

  • Pattyvaughn

    But you are an expert?  How so?  By what qualification?

  • Walterwoods57

    No I don’t have a problem with high quality foods. I have problems with low quality foods and people like you that pretend to be experts.

    You all can pretend to act like experts and this is the perfect forum for you. The owner of this site is not an expert either unless you need a root canal.

    Keep the fantasy going!!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I was thinking that he probably does, but wasn’t going to go there… but since we went, yeah I agree, he tows the party line too well. I kind of think he’s trolling, because of how he likes to throw things out there and then disappears for a while. Wants to see what hits the fan.

  • Pattyvaughn

    One of my cats does it on the way to the vet every time, and every time they think she has an anal gland abcess until they take a closer look.  Yes, SO GROSS!!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hey Patty, he probably works for Ohio Pet foods. Oh and the Anal gland thing….When my Springer was a puppy, he chased my big cat. The cat got so scared that he expressed his anal glands, while running away, and stunk up the house. SO GROSS….

  • Pattyvaughn

    He is pro some company that only makes grain inclusive, and in my opinion lower quality, foods.  Monkey mentioned which company he is known for jawing for on another forum.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Self-expression of anal glands has to do with firmness of the stool, if the stool is too soft then they don’t express when the dog deficates.  Fiber can help firm up a loose stool, but too much fiber can create a loose stool.  You really have to find the right amount for your dog.  Mine have small hard stools and no anal gland issues, but one of mine did have issues when he was on NutriSource, it had too much fiber for him. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I think he has an issue with high quality foods. Looking back through his posts he was the same one that was attacking Orijen awhile back, saying it was low quality. Don’t know what his beef is with good food lol

  • Pattyvaughn

    Doesn’t it sound like he’s saying the food is made in a human grade kitchen… which I don’t believe.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Use facts to support your position that it is a poorly made food.  I mean facts about the food, not what else the company may or may not make, which does not reflect on the food at all.  I’d be interested in hearing your reasoning, if there is some.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Why would one automatically assume a dog food is “poorly made” because the parent company manufactures snack foods?

  • Walterwoods57

    Allister, this is a poorly made food. Did you know KLN the parents company’s main business is making candy and snackfoods?

  • allister

    I am on my 2nd bag now with my 4 month old Labrador. Although he’s loved this stuff, we’ve had to express his Anal Glands twice now in the last 4 weeks, which are known to fill due to lack of fiber in the diet. After draining his glands the first time, we started putting a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin in his food once a day, but it was only a month later he was having issues again. This is my first Lab on my own. My parents have labs and have never had problems with their anal glands, religiously feed their dogs Kibbles & Bits, and table scraps (horrible, I know). I just feel like my poor doggy is not getting enough fiber in his diet and so I think this will be our last bag of this. I’m going to start putting a little flax seed in with it and hope that helps, but try to find another 4-5 star pet food but with more fiber. 

  • Teddygoldens

    Charles mom, itching is due to allergies. You can switch to a lamb base kibble such as Blue Buffalo, which also comes in grain free or California Natural. I give my dogs flax seed oil capsules 1000mg 2x’s a day. It is great for skin, coat and the immune system.   It is important to keep the immune system strong. I also give my dogs “nutritional yeast” (made from molassas. Don’t use brewers yeast on a dog with allergies.  Good luck.

  • Bo

    My terrier mix itches also… but it seems less on this food than others I’ve feed him.

  • sue

    has any one dog been iching from the lamb meal and rice

  • Pattyvaughn

    Fish meal has a corn meal or flour like texture. It is made from the flesh of fish which has SOME fish oil in it. Therefore, it is presumed that fish meal has SOME fish oil in it.

  • Tenar41146

    How can a fish meal be a a source of fish oil? isn’t fish meal dried fish that are ground into flour?
    How does the fish flour turn into oil?

  • Pingback: Review: Nutrisource Small and Medium Breed Puppy Dogfood |()

  •  My boy had a senitive belly, I feed him grain free and no chicken. The vet said alot of dogs are allergic to chicken. I fee them this brand but samon one.. cleared his hair loss and skin pimples rite up..

  • charliesmom

    Thank you Melissa…I might try that. I wasn’t sure how long it would take the allergies to clear up if it was because of what he ate before I got him. I guess it could be environment 2 since the steroid injection helped….I have read somewhere that those wouldn’t help, but also read that food allergies would cause hair loss on face which is where his is. I guess only having him a week its hard to tell, but I hate to see the poor guy itching so badly!

  • melissa


    Thats hard to say. Food or environment can be the problem-you could try a grain free food to attempt to rule out some foods.

  • charliesmom

     hi, I have a question. I recently rescued a 3 month old lab. He had hair loss, hot spot and itching very badly. I have never tried this brand, but was suggested it by a local pet store. He had a steroid injection about a week ago and the itching cleared up I have also been feeding him the chicken and rice large breed puppy for a week but his itching has came back with a vengeance. Should I change his food or wait to see if it clears? Who knows what he was fed before I got him! He has gained 5 pounds in the one week in this food! He was under weight.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Pam: All you give your dog is chicken, white rice, egg, and cottage cheese? If this is going to be the bulk of your dog’s diet you should get a recipe book for homemade dog food or check out a site like This recipe is extremely unbalanced – there needs to be calcium, organ meat, fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and a trace nutrient supplement (like kelp). It’s also not good to feed only poultry, an even balance of poultry and red meat should be fed as they contain different types of fats.

  • Pam

     I’ve had dogs for 30 years. After losing two dogs to cancer I got to thinking… can you imagine living on can food and cereal your whole life.  My dog got cancer at the age of ten and finally after complaining to the vet about vaccine overdose (most states only require rabies) and asking him how healthy he’d be on canned food diet he finally broke down and gave me a receipe.  I cup of boiled (boneless) chicken to 1 cup of cooked white rice and to that add 1 tblspn of lowfat cottage cheese and 1/2 hard boiled egg.  My dog did not survive cancer but my 12 year old terrier is doing very well on this diet. I haven’t given up can food altogether but I have cut down on it dramatically (about half this diet to half dog food).  Also, meat listed on can food and dry food can be the heads, feet and god knows what else. Just use common sense. Good luck to all.

  • Kristywilkinson

    I have a four month old standard poodle with a sensitive stomach. Her breeder started her on blue Buffalo and her stool was soft like oatmeal. Then we tried pro plan. That worked for a few days. Then back to soft stool. I couldn’t pick it up to clean the yard it was disgusting. Then I gave her boiled chicken and rice to see if chicken was a problem. Stools firmed right up. Our boarding kennel sells nutrisource and we mixed chicken and rice with it a couple days. She has had firm stools since. Very happy with this food. Certain treats still upset her tummy.

  • Debbra Mathews

    I have 2 Bichons. I started feeding them Pure Vita, chicken & rice last November. I have noticed the last couple of months one of them has started drinking alot more water. We had her urine tested, came back 1.005. Then we had blood work which all came back good.  The only change in their diet or life stlye has been the food change. I hate to change foods, since I am very impressed with what I know about this one. Just wondering if anyone can help. I’ll also contact the company.

  • macadoodle

     His giardia test at the vet was negative but that doesn’t mean that is not what it is. He does have an over growth of coccidia so she put him on flagyll for his first time and wanted to switch him to an diet that would be easier to digest we were feeding fromm in the am, and sojos at night trying to switch him to fromm full time (for the last 6 wks). 

    They haven’t made any real diagnosis yet on if this my become a long term deal or if hopefully cross our fingers  its just stress induced a now out of control… He did have a really hard time with his transition to his new home, (he was very unsure, and scared of the kids at first) and he had diarrhea from day one and was lethargic and wouldn’t eat a bite after 2 wks thats when we switched to sojos, he gobbled up that first meal  and was a completely different dog since, he became happy and play full and a major kid lover over night. 

    At 3 mo old we tried to switch to acana since he was needing so much meat in his food and we really don’t have the money to feed him 6+ lbs of beef every 4 days. That switch failed in 3wks with blow out diarrhea anytime he moved then we waited 10 wks before trying slowly to switch to Fromm which after a 6 wk switch over he still ended up with diarrhea. 

    So now with the recommendation of our vet we are switching him cold turkey to nutrisource while on flagyll.

    Eve’sHumanMom-  he gets pumkin with every meal its hard to find pumkin here this summer so we have been buying the fruitables pumkin dog food cans he really likes it. We also do kefer icecube treats and probiotics with his morning meal.

  • melissa


    Have you asked the vet about coccidia/giardia or the possibility that your pup has some form of IBD?

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    from what I have read here, depending on how quickly you switch foods, the actual transition can cause loose stools and you need to go gradually if you are not.  Also,  a little pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling– the plain stuff)  can help firm his stools, too.  I also give a teaspoon of plain yogurt to my 8kg rescue.  What does the vet say?  Does he have allergies to anything?  I hope it suits him. 

  • macadoodle

    Today is our first day of feeding this, we are completely at a lose with our pup. We are going with the adult chicken and rice formula for our 7mo old goldendoodle, based on the recommendation of our great local pet food store. We have tried 3 other diets for this little guy and he always gets horribly sick with diarrhea and weight loss, I don’t think this little guy has ever had a solid formed stool in his life…

    The only other food he does semi well with has been sojos with added beef. But its is so expensive to feed now that he is getting larger.

    Keeping our fingers crossed that this is the winning food for our little guy he is down 2 pounds from 2 wks ago and he was a good 8lbs underweight then.

  • Skyisthelimit1027

    I love this food for my dog. I have a golden she as a rescue and was pretty much just about dead when i got her. Well she suffers from hot spots and the poor thing was miserable. Every month i would have to take her to the vet, get a script to give her pills for the next 10 days. No sooner would i be done with the pills and she would get another one. I switched and tried so many dog foods as even the vet said it was something she was eating. I finally went and tried the lamb and rice one and 5 months now and no hot spots. She is healthy and happy. So glad i found this and was able to help her.

  • Zhang

    I think they’re not using corn anymore? right?

  • hounddogmom12


    For their grain-free formulas Nutrisource specifies that the fish meal is Salmon derived. It’s possible that the fish meal used in their regular formula is the same, however if you want to be sure I would advise you to contact the company.

  • hounddogmom12


    This is not true. A high protein is not for active dogs only, all dogs both young and old can and should eat a diet high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates. The only issue that should be a concern for different lifestages in the calcium level in for large breed puppies. In the wild all wolves eat the same diet no matter what there are, young wolves eat their mother’s regurgitated meals from the time they are very young, they don’t change their eating habits depending on their age. There is no truth to the rumors that a high protein dog food can cause organ problems. Higher levels of protein consumed does not put additional stress on organs, however poor quality protein (no matter what the percentage is) can put additional stress on the organs. The (outdated) studies done on issues in dogs caused by high protein intake were done using foods with poor quality,
    hard to digest protein sources, such as soy, corn, byproducts, blood
    meal, etc. Cheap dog foods (and dog foods low in protein) generally contain a large quantity of plant matter and plant sourced protein has a very low digestibility for dogs and the majority of the protein derived from plant sources and by-product sources will not be very bioavailable to the dog. The dog will have to stress its organs in an attempt to process this protein and in the end only a fraction of the protein listed on the package will be able to be utilized by the dog. In short, dogs and their relatives were created to eat a diet based on primarily (hgigh quality) meat, bone, and organ matter. They have been eating this way for thousands of years, low protein foods are a recent human invention. Dogs would not have evolved to eat a high protein diet and survived for so long as a species if it was not what is best for them. Also, as far as less active dogs and weight gain, carbohydrates contribute to weight gain in dogs – not fat and protein. So saying a less active dog should eat a diet lower in protein (and thus higher in carbohydrates) is actually counterproductive.

  • melissa


    LOL..I know what the purpose of fish meal is, I want to know What kind of fish meal? In other words  what kind of fish is in the meal?

  • Tosha

    what I just said I dont want people thinking that im bashing orijen, thats not my goal, it was more to show you that if your dog has had liver problems it could be from that, other dogs can be fed orijen and be perfectly fine.
     also melissa,
    the fish meal is ( a source of fish oil ) this helps the dogs coat and skin. The chicken and Turkey Flavours are well just added flavouring to make it yummy.. lke when we put flavour on a nice steak 🙂 just there to make it taste that much better. The ethoxyquin free thing I’m not a 100 percent sure i will have to look into that one for you and let you know! hope thats helped some of your questions!


  • Ur Source

    gman , i wouldnt recommend you feeding the puppy performance cause it has a higher protein and calories, performance should only be feed when your dog is active alot or super active plus at an age when its digestive system can handle it and needs that extra protein. If the puppy gets fed a food that has to high of protien it can cause liver problems. Best thing would to feed large breed puppy formula. Im assuming you have a larger dog? i know alot of dogs that have had liver problems later on due to being fed orijen dog food – protein 38% !!! NS Performance only has 30% protein… and thats for active dogs…also remember when you see 80% (example) protein… look at the ingredients, it’s not just one source of protein ur getting.. its a few chicken, fish, which cant always be good.  

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi gman, that review that you left a link to from dogfoodanalysis is from 2006. I’m sure the formulas have changed in the last 6 years. You would be better off to look on this site, The last update from Dr. Mike is from 9/2011.Please read the detailed review above.

  • Darlene

    My dog ate a small amount of this dog food and had extreme intestinal distress…both vomiting and very loose stools. He was sick for several days. I can not recommend.

  • gman

    anyone feed performance to puppies?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I just got a new bag of Adult Chicken and Rice Formula and decided to retread the label because I’m getting a new pup soon. I noticed the calorie count had changed from 370kcal per cup to 405kcal per cup. The nutrient profile remains the same, ingredient list remains the same. What gives? Can they count calories more accurately now? My dogs are doing great on NutriSource but I sure am curious.

  • Troy Way,

    I get a rescue/foster discount with Nature’s Select. I use the green bag or the grain free bag.

  • hi Tosha, thanks for your information… i already give him NS large breed adult chicken and rice formula, so far so good and he love it! woof! 🙂 /prast

  • hi golden lover, thanks for your consideration..nice to hear that from you. i decided to give my boy large breed adult chicken and rice formula, so far so good. is he still fussy in 4 yerold? i think golden getting calm up 3 🙂

  • golden lover

    I have an extreamly fussy golden he is 4 and has went through 10 different foods before we found grain free chicken and rice adult. He loves it. No more upset tummy and regular stools. Hope this helps

  • melissa

    Hi Tosha-

    Saw your product while out shopping today, and almost bought a bag to try-However, can you tell me 1) What fish is the source of your “fish meal” and is it ethoxyquin free?  Unnamed protein source causes me to pause 2) What is the turkey and chicken “flavor”.

  • Tosha

       Your Best option is to feed the Nutrisource Adult chicken and rice/ Large Breed Adult Chicken and rice formula or Nutrisource Lamb and rice/ Large breed adult lamb and rice.
     Whats the difference? The main difference is the size of the kibble. The feeding chart is on the bag to help, also keep in mind, you usually feed a little less then what they state on the bag.
          Tosha, Sales Rep of Nutrisource 

  • Tosha

    Troy Way,
       Where are you located? what city?
    We have a head office ( Pet Food Source ) in Winnipeg, Manitoba but also deliver to many other places. If you are interested please give us a call and we can figure something out for you. 204-475-5453
    We are located on 3309 Roblin Blvd. Winnipeg, Manitoba. If you live in this area by all means stop by and take a look around the store.
             Tosha, Sales Rep

  • prast

    i would like to give Nutrisource kibble for my 2,5 years old golden retriever since he’s bored to the last dogfood brand. anybody knows what kind of Nutrisource should i choose for the best for my boy. He’s our lovely pet with 26-28kg weight 🙂

    warm regards,

  • Hi Troy,

    I buy Nutrisource from a locally owned shop that sells higher end foods, no store brands. For every 10 bags I buy, I get one bag free. I think the deal is through the distributor. Can’t hurt to ask if this available where you  shop.

  • I run a rescue with an average of 15-20 dogs in my home at any time.  Years ago (10?) I fed Nutrisource and do recall all of the dogs doing very well on it.  They were for the most part all healthy, enjoyed the food, and had normal stools.  Nutrisource became unavailable for a few years so I went through a variety of other foods – Innova, Nutro, Nutrience, and Acana as recent as last year.  While most of the dogs also did well on those foods (with the exception of Acana which produces mushy stools in many of the dogs), I’ve found the Nutrisource to be the all-round best choice.  Now that it is available in my city once again I’ve switched back and the dogs really seem to like the food.  My only beef – the cost.  It would be nice if they’d help out the rescues a little more with cost, coupons, discounts etc.  And why have many of the companies dumped the 40lb bag in favor of a 33lb bag???

  • Waterwings

    Todd – the Grain Free review is here:

    (I currently feed the Lamb Meal formula)

  • Todd

    I plan to switch to NutriSource Grain Free Chicken formula for my beagle Mason relatively soon….I notice that the article did not list the Grain Free food as one of the options.

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  • Dave Scheer

    I have been feeding my dogs Nutrisource for multiple generations.  Very satisfied, my Setter runs hard in the field for hours at a time and Nutrisource has always met his needs just fine. Nutrisource has always been made in Perham Minnesota at the same plant as Tuffy’s for as long a I can remember.  Everyone seems to have their grocery own store line and also offer a Premium line.  I would not worry about Nutrisource trying to fix what isn’t broken.  The line has been very successful.  Several years ago there was a scare one the dog food market about some manufacturers using inferior and dangerous ingredients from China.  At that time I called Nutrisource and asked them about their ingredient sources.  They assured me their products came from local sources e.g. Minnesota corn, etc.  Made me a believer in their product. 

    I would mention that During hunting season I did switch to the Nutrisource High Performenace kibble.  Had an issue with loose stools, maybe because of the higher fat content?  Didn’t affect his performance though.  He stayed healthy and happy hunt after hunt.

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  • Anonymous

    From my understanding, Tuffy is a family owned company that makes Nutrisource, Tuffy’s food and Natural Planet Organics.  They may make other foods, but Idk.  Imo they’re a good company and you should be okay feeding this.  Look up and research the company, contact them if you have questions.

  • Cgarprints

    When did Tuffy take over this company?  I have been feeding this to my dogs for 4 years and have been very satisfied.

    Do I need to be concerned about Tyffy maintaining the quality?

  • Ouch! See if you can find something similar or try the B.A.R.F. (biologically appropriate raw food) diet. Steve Brown wrote “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and Dr. Becker & Beth Taylor wrote “Real Foods for Healthy Dogs and Cats” both are great raw food ‘cook’ books. 🙂

  • shipping isn’t practical- airmail costs something like 80$+ for a decent size bag of food, and surface takes about 6 months to arrive…

  • They are both mail order. Shipping may be too expensive… Hmm. Find foods similar to these, in your country and post the ingredients. I’ll tell you what I think of them.

  • Neither of them is sold in my country (I don’t live in the US).

  • Pups

    How do you know? What types of measurements have you taken? 

  • There are only 2 5 star kibbles I’d recommend, as they don’t contain much processed glutamate. Have you tried Great life grain free, potatoe free, (I feed the buffalo in my rotation) or Brothers? I know Richard has given free trial packs of Brother’s…

  • Too bad Core isn’t sold in my country.
    I am thinking of mixing two foods together. I was just wondering if I was the only one with that issue.

  • Hi.
    It’s not a specific good. In general, all the 5 star foods I tried leave him hungry in the feeding level where he doesn’t gain wight too much.With the 4 star foods this seems like less of an issue, but his energy level and coat aren’t as good as with the 5 star foods.


    I’m thinking about mixing a 5 star food with a 4 star one, and feeding them together.

  • Xslf,

    Perhaps your pups “hunger” is chemically driven. Many individuals (canine & human) are more sensitive to free glutamic and Aspartic acids. Free glutamic acid is MSG, an Excito-toxin, that in lab testing has been shown to stimulate appetite, causing the critter to feel ravenous. This food, or particular batch of food, if its a new behavior on the same food, may have additional MSG.

    Free glutamate occurs by processing, as does aspartate (1/2 of aspartame) both are Excito toxins.

    Based on your knowledge of events here are some things to consider:

    If you suspect it may just be that batch, get a different bag, from a different batch.

    If you noticed increasing appetite with this food, switch to a food that does not have any kind of “natural flavor.” A source of hidden MSG and Aspartic acid.

    If you want to prove to yourself that it is MSG by process, feed raw for a few days. If you wish to continue with raw, do some research, so his diet is balanced.

    If you’ve always fed the same food, it could also be a nutritional imbalance. So changing brands to a different kibble (5 star) might solve the problem.

    Hope this helps.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe a slow decrease in food amount would be called for.  I’ve also given them antlers to chew on to keep them busy.  Also maybe a food with more fiber will help.  I’ve also had dogs lose weight eating a mixture of regular food and the higher protein food together.  The added protein helped them to lose weight even though it was not “high”, around 28-30%.  Core Reduced Fat has high fiber and lower calories than most of the others like it. You would be able to feed more of this.

  • melissa


    If my dogs were responding in this manner, I would conclude that the food I am feeding them is not working and change foods. One can monitor their weight via portion control versus high protein.

  • To those of you who manage your dog’s wight with high protein kibble- have you ran into issues that the feeding amount for keeping the dog in the proper wight leaves them inordinately hungry?
    I’m not talking about regular “I’m always happy to eat more” many dogs have. I’m talking about “I’m feeling starving and will go out of my way to find and eat things, even though otherwise that isn’t a habit of mine”.

    How did you manage that?

  • sandy


    I have obesity prone pugs and I’ve managed to get them to lose weight and maintain weight loss with regular grain free, mod/high protein food, controlling calories and reducing treats, and walking. Some of the pugs were eating Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Core Ocean, and Instict during their weight loss. They’ve maintained their weights eating Brothers and Amicus and Instinct. The pugs that needed to lose weight were 6 to 10 years old and some of them went from 38 to 28 pounds and 30 to 24 pounds, and 32 to 26 pounds.

  • melissa

    Linda Greenfield-

    My seniors are older than your seniors, and I never feed a ‘senior food”. They eats All life stage and we simply monitor their weight, increasing or decreasing as needed to stay in proper body condition. IMO, the “senior” and “weight management” products have too little protein, and since age is not a disease requiring low protein, why go there? Since one of my “breeds of choice” tends to have issues with fat when it gets beyond 15%, I simply choose a moderate protein food that contains a lower fat.

  • linda greenfield

    hi, i have been looking over different foods for 2 of my dogs need lower fat and calories. one is a show Ch. 9yrs and a 5yr old Ch. smooth fox terrier she is hard to keep wt. off. looked at chicken soup but pricey and need to fed a lot. just started feeding canidea senior. i must have had a senior moment low animal protein. can someone give me results in feeding wt. managment and senior. at this point in my life i wellcome any help. have hadvizslas for 42yrs, a 7xBest in show 1st v a grp 3 at westminster

  • Hi Mike and Augie

    Here’s a little info on corn gluten meal. If you do use a product that contains it, be sure it is organic, as that’s the only way to avoid GMO corn, and most feed stock corn is GMO these days. :-}

    “…Corn Gluten Meal — This is derived from the part of the kernel that doesn’t get used in corn meal. It’s high in protein and nitrogen, which makes it an excellent lawn fertilizer, but is not really edible — although it won’t hurt you if you swallow some. … Note About Genetic Modification — The use of corn gluten meal in weed control is allowed in many organic standards programs, including our SafeLawns Approved program, although the corn gluten meal is not technically organic because most corn is genetically modified by Monsanto and others to resist Roundup or Bt. ..”
    This post was written by: Paul Tukey – who has written 829 posts on Safelawns Daily Post and Q&A Blog.

    —— notice that he says it’s “not really edible”… Does this just make it a filler?

    “The definition of Corn Gluten Meal is “the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.  It may contain fermented corn extractives and/or corn germ meal.” from:
    Notice the process of wet milling, enzymolysis, & fermenting, all methods of releasing free glutamic and Aspartic acids… 2 excitotory neurotoxins.

  • Augie

    Mike Thanks. I’ll use the 30lb bag I purchased. Once that’s finished I’ll decide if I should switch him to something else. Any suggestions, he’s an Irish Red and White Setter? Only want the best for him. He has had soft stools.

  • Hi Augie… Corm gluten meal isn’t “toxic” to your dog. And it’s not bad for your dog. It’s just that corn gluten meal is not as natural a source of protein as meat. Hope this helps.

  • Augie

    I just purchased the Nutri Source Large Breed Puppy dry food for my 3 and 1/2 month old pup. Should I be concerned about the corn gluten meal contained in this food? My breeder says this food is great and uses Nutri Source for all her dogs.

  • Meagan

    I would say Performance or even the Super Performance fromula.

  • sandy


    Sounds like your dog could use Performance!! My indoor, not active dogs eat regular adult formula!!

  • Hi Kara… Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Kara

    I’m highly considering switching my dog to Nutri Source, but I do not know whether to get Adult Chicken and Rice or the Performance Chicken and Rice. My dog jogs between 4 and 5 miles every morning, plays chuck-it or frisbee daily (10-15 minutes), 1 to 1.5 hour walks every evening, swims occasionally, and is about to start working cattle a few days a month…. Any suggestions as to which formula to feed him?

  • Meagan

    My 6 month old lab puppy is doing very well on the lamb and rice formula. She loves to eat and her poops are firm and easy to pick up.

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  • Meagan

    Thanks Mike!

  • OK, Meagan… All done. My report on NutriSource dry has been updated. Hope this helps.

  • Hi Meagan… It appears NutriSource has made a number of notable recipe changes to this product line. I’ll try to update this review soon. Thanks for the tip.

  • Meagan

    Hey Mike,
    Looking over the Nutrisource website I only see one food with Corn Gluten Meal in it, that would be the Large Breed Puppy formula. Also the Weight Managment is not an ALS food, but a maintenance food. Thanks

  • Rebecca

    Thanks Mike! I’m new to the whole “review the ingredients” thing with dog food. My first pup was fed NutroMax her whole life and did well. Now with pup #2, I want to be sure to feed her the best I can afford 🙂

  • Hi Rebecca… This is not a new development. Corn gluten meal has been a component in 3 of these NutriSource products since before my last review of this line. Please note the following statement taken here from my review:

    “If we ignore the fact that three of the foods still use corn gluten meal to boost their protein percentages, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.”

    When corn gluten is present, it should be considered an inexpensive meat protein substitute. And must never be interpreted as high in quality as meat. Hope this helps.

  • Rebecca

    Per the Nutrisource website, their Large Breed Puppy formula include corn gluten meal. See ingredient list copied directly from their site.
    “Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, white rice, barley, corn gluten meal, oatmeal, beet pulp-dried, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), fish meal (a source of fish oil), natural turkey and chicken flavor, flax seeds, sunflower oil, dried egg product, dried brewers yeast, kelp meal, potassium chloride, salt, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), DL Methionine, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), taurine, choline chloride, yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtillis fermentation product.”

    I contacted them & was told they put corn gluten in their large breed puppy formula as it is a gentler protein for large breed puppies so they do not grow as fast. I notice here that corn gluten meal is NOT included in the list of ingredients above. That being said, my pup does MUCH better on Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy over Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy.

  • pete

    I feed my 15 week old American pit bull puppy nutri source since he was 5weeks old he gaind weight fast , this food is the best I know I’m giving my dog exactly what he needs to be healthy n strong ..

  • pete

    I feed my 15 week old American pit bull puppy nutri source since he was 5weeks old he gaind weight fast , this food is the best I know I’m giving my dog exactly what he needs to be healthy n strong .. I recommend this food to any one who has a dog …

  • melissa


    I do not have a problem with a bit of beet pulp in the food either as it would appear its used to firm stool in the small amounts in the dog food. However, comparing the beet pulp in dog food to cattle is way off. In farm animals, its fed in much higher concentrations to put weight on them, and it does seem to work for most.

    I am not sure about your vets comments as its not really clear, but it would appear that you are saying your vet told you “its just a preservative”..well that is correct, but it certaintly has no place in dog food imo. There are much more natural(and safe) ways to preserve food w/out it.

    Re Tuffy’s letter-their response actually state that THEY do not use ethoxyquin on any of their products-how about the suppliers before it arrives there?? And, if its ethoxyquin free, why not say so on the website?? It seems to be a matter of semantics. I can easily say I do not use Frontline on my dogs, and yet the dogs have Frontline on them…because Hubby put it there : )

  • Evelyn Mulhall

    I am a 1rst time reader/responder to ANY site. I just talked to my vet. The preservative ethoxquin is just that. I feel ok w/feeding my 11 month old puppy this food. He has been on it since he was 2 1/2 months old and LOVES the taste and is looking GREAT. As far as beet pulp, I know quite a bit about this product as well. I raised beef cattle to show the steers @ the different 4-H fairs & state fairs and always got GRAND CHAMPION. My secret part of the feed was BEET PULP. I do not believe it would be any risk to any animal, unless of course they had an alergy. I am lucky I came across this new dog food. I use to use a different brand but “Chipper” just did not like the taste, that was the main reason I thought I would try a different food, SUCCESS!

  • Kathy

    This is in response to Julie’s comments. The sign off at the end of the e-mail has nothing to do with the content of the e-mail. It is simply a corporate requirement should the e-mail be received by an unintended recipient.
    The answer is that Tuffy’s Pet Foods do not use ethoxiquin in any of their foods.

  • Hi Shameless… I’m not sure if Tuffy’s manufactures this particular product. However, my response to Debbie was my understanding at the time I wrote it. Yet based on the information presented here, my post was obviously incorrect.

    By the way, I’ve been following (with much interest) this conversation about Blue Buffalo since it started a few days ago. And I must say, I’ve found it to be most revealing. Your personal history as a BB team member as well as the research of others has shed much light on the background and standards of this company.

    And it clearly demonstrates why I focus on labels only. I’ll respectfully leave the research regarding manufacturing practices and the source of the raw materials to folks far more knowledgeable than this writer. Thanks for sharing what you know.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Mike – According to The Whole Dog Journal, February 2011,
    – Blue Buffalo uses Tuffy’s Pet Foods to manufacture some of their products.

    If the WDJ information is accurate, then part of what Debbie wrote on this NutriSource thread (5/19/11) seems valid “Someone told me that Nutrisource and Blue Buffalo are made by the same company. . .”

    You responded to Debbie “What you heard is not true. NutriSource is owned by Tuffy’s Pet Foods of Perham, MN and Blue Buffalo is an independent manufacturer.”

    ??? Does Tuffy’s manufacture for Blue Buffalo???

  • Hi Mike…I emailed the company asking if their fish meal or any of their ingredients contain ethoxyquin and they sent the following response. Notice the disclaimer at the end ???? When I found out this is the company that makes Tuffys I crossed them right off my list of prospective foods for my new 3 month old.

    Hi Julia,

    We do not use ethoxyquin on any of our products.

    Genie Buer
    Sales Dept.
    IMPORTANT MESSAGE: The information in this electronic mail message and any attached files is confidential and may be legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, delete this message. You must not use or disseminate this information as it is proprietary property of KLN Enterprises, Inc. or its subsidiaries. Access to this message by anyone else is unauthorized. Communications on or through KLN Enterprises, Inc. or its subsidiaries’ computer systems may be monitored or recorded to secure effective system operation and for other lawful purposes. The contents of this email do not necessarily represent the views or policies of KLN Enterprises, Inc. or its subsidiaries. Thank you.

  • June

    I prefer EVO dog food it’s a much better product.

  • Hi Debbie… What you heard is not true. NutriSource is owned by Tuffy’s Pet Foods of Perham, MN and Blue Buffalo is an independent manufacturer.

  • Debbie

    Someone told me that Nutrisource and Blue Buffalo are made by the same company and contains the same kibble. Is this true? I’m trying to find a very good reasonably priced low fat dry dog food and I’m limited to the brands I can find in my area.

  • Hi Marilyn… The Senior product apparently contains more meat. Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Marilyn

    I have been feeding NutriSource Weight Management to my 7-year old boxer for over a year now. He used to suffer from Boxer’s Colitis which would last for several days. Now that he is on NutriSource, he hardly ever gets Colitis and when he does, it doesn’t last for more than a day. I am thinking of switching my two 12-year old Cocker Spaniels to NutriSource. It seems to be a superior product. I am debating between Weight Management and Senior Chicken and Rice. What is the main difference between the two?

  • Cathy

    Do an internet search on Pumpkin and Anal Glands. My dog has never had this problem, but others have told me pumpkin helped their dog. A little pumpkin has a lot of fiber. Organic pumpkin is about $2 per can. You can freeze it in ice cube trays and pop out a cube daily into your dog’s bowl.

  • Hi Char… Based upon ingredient quality and meat content, this does look like a very good puppy food.

  • char Manlikck

    I was wondering if Nutri Source puppy dry food be good for our 3.7 pound Maltese Poodle. We got some samples from our groomer and the puppy does like it. She is now eating Pro Pac and likes that. She will be 1 year old the 15th of April. Would really like to hear from you. Thank you very much.

  • Angela

    Hi, I previously had a shepherd/husky mix that was VERY very picky with food. I had tried all kinds of other foods, wet and dry, and then i was recommended this food. He liked it better than anything else i tried so i stuck with it. Unfortunately i had to put him down last spring. Now i have a four year old purebred German Shepherd that i adopted last summer. When i got him the food he had been on was Pedigree. I tried to gradually switch him over to this food and he picked out most of this food from the bowl first and then finally ate the Pedigree that was left. I was glad to see that he liked this food so much. When i first got him his coat was rough and after being on this food his coat is shiny and soft. I highly recommend this food!

  • Kayson

    Hi Kerri,
    My Beagle was having some pretty nasty anal gland problems, we switched him to the Nutri Source Lamb Meal and Rice and he has been doing much better. I don’t think his was as severe as what you mention above, but the higher fiber definitely seemed to help.

  • Hi Kerri… I doubt you could “cure” a stubborn anal gland infection with any dog food. However, foods higher in fiber content are believed by some to help control anal sac issues. In any case, since I’m not a veterinarian, I cannot provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • kERRI

    Hi there!

    I changed my lab to this food–he has IBS and a suspected food allergy. However, we have been dealing with a wicked anal gland infection for the past few months that wont quit…i am worried that he will need surgery!

    Any thoughts on this problem? Thanks

  • Faith McAllister

    I have 3 large dogs: Boxer(7yrs), Bullboxer(8yrs), and a Boxer/English Mastiff mix(5yrs). We used to feed them all Pro Plan, which is an excellent food that they enjoy eating. The quality of the food is fantastic and really shows! However, the price just kept hiking up higher and higher…it’s over $50 a bag for 34.5lbs now in our area–and requires a 45 mile roundtrip drive. = ( I’d heard about how wonderful Nutri Source is and have researched the ingredients, which stack up wonderfully. Also, it’s available in our area and costs considerably less than the Pro Plan. I got a small bag to try on my babies (one is a VERY picky eater) and am delighted to say that it has passed our test! All 3 of my dogs LOVE this food! I was afraid they only liked it at first while it was mixed in with their current food, but when we had weaned the old food out, they still ate the new food very enthusiastically. Oh, they love the Nutri Source treats too…We are SO changed to Nutri Source. = )

  • Hi Michelle… After reading your comment, I returned to the NutriSource website and cannot find menadione in the four products I randomly checked. You can find NutriSource Grain Free products in the “Products” drop down list on their website.

  • Michelle

    I went online to look for the nutrisource products to buy, but they list menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity) as one of the ingredients. I thought that was a big no no! Anyway, I found the list of ingredients on and also on I couldn’t find the nutrisource grain free dog food you reviewed here on your website. Could you clear this up for me? Thank you!

  • Hi Bre… Brewers yeast is a by-product of the beer making process. It contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients. Fans claim yeast repels fleas and supports a dog’s immune system.

    Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself. What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

    In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.

  • Bre

    I just bought this product however I didnt see that there was yeast untill we brought it home. Is there yeast still in the food and is it a concern??? I have a bullmastiff puppy. We bought the grain free for large breeds.

  • JaydaP

    I don’t see many comments regarding lamb and rice Nutirsource foods. Which would be best or better (chicken or lamb)? I have my bully breed pit on Diamond Extreme Athlete Adult food and I’m taking her off of it gradually with Nutrisource lamb and rice. Taking her off of it because she is sooooo gassy and poops about 5 times a day or more and she really clears the room. I can’t take her to my friend’s houses because of the gas. So, I’m hoping the new food will help her. She loves what she’s on but there has got to be something that can be done about all the gas.

  • Gloria

    I am happy to be able to feed my two shih tzu’ with Nutrisource,good quality dog food is super expensive here in Costa Rica, and I was able to find Nutrisource 18 pound bag for about $35, my female shih tzu use to have very bad skin allergies, now her coat is looking shiny and healthy and also my 3 year old male coat is beautiful. Thank you Nutrisource for exporting this wonderful product to C.R. ***** Rating

  • dog lover

    I just wanted to say that I have a boxer and when I got her she was on regular puppy chow and not doing well with it, I changed her to Nutra Source (the same food that I fed my chihuahau) and she has done great! No more itching and her feces is not as smelly, and the gas is gone! I love this food and tell everyone with dogs that I know to use this food!!

  • Pamela

    We have a boxer that started having incontinence at age three. (She was wetting while she slept) Our vet put her on Proin, which mostly solved the problem. Then we heard that she might be allergic to something in her food, so we took her off of the medicine, and changed her from Beneful to Nutrisource. After 2 days, she never had an accident again. Her coat is super healthy and she loves the food, so we’re sticking with it. Hopefully this helps another dog get off of Proin, which is really terrible for dogs.
    Update: About a year later, a friend brought her some treats that caused her incontinence again. We threw them out, and she regained her control which makes the food allergy thing certain in our minds.

  • Kayson

    Thanks for the reply that’s good to know! Just goes to show you you can’t rely on everything on the web, especially forums sometimes! Thanks for running such a great website!

  • Hi Kayson… When I recently contacted Tuffy’s (the maker of NutriSource), here’s what the company had to say…

    “Recent changes in the fish meal processing industry have made it impossible for pet food manufacturers to obtain fish meal certified to not contain traces of ethoxyquin. The NutriSource family of brands are taking the following actions: 1.) New products will be formulated with naturally preserved Salmon meal produced in the US without trace levels of ethoxyquin rather than fish meal. 2.) Changing to naturally preserved Salmon meal rather than fish meal in current products is under consideration.”

    Based upon current website information, only NutriSource Grain Free uses salmon meal.

  • Kayson

    I’m considering switching to this brand and have been doing some research, I’ve seen several people worried about the fish meal and its unknown source. While I didn’t contact the company myself I was just on and a poster stated that NutriSource responded to their email, saying that they use tuna, and they require their suppliers to sign a ethoxyquin free pledge.

  • JLF

    We have been feeding NutriSouce to our dogs for about 6 years, over that time 2 Golden Retrievers (passed away), and currently a St Bernard and a Newfoundland. We have used the adult formula, puppy formula (both large breed) and the regular large breed, trying both the lamb and chicken. They all love it and whenever we have guest dogs, they LOVE it. We have been very happy. All dogs are a “great weight” per vet, and “have great coats”, plus, I like the smaller deposits in the yard. I used to buy either IAMs or Science Diet for my Goldens, when I switched one girl went from chronic ear infections to no ear infections, they both lost weight and lived a very long time, 13 years each.
    Our Newfy is currently 6 months old and our St is 5 years old, and I feel comfortable with the St eating the puppy food so I don’t have to keep their meals seperate.
    I feel the price is comperable to other brands. We buy alot of it, at a local feed store; I think it is buy 12 bags get one free (it helps-we have gotten many free bags with the quantity we buy), I’d like to find coupons too, but haven’t.

  • Jan

    We highly recommend Nutri-source Chicken & Rice. We feed the super performance dry kibble to the Beltane Kerry clan. Lush coats, good muscle, happy & healthy terriers all around.

  • Molly

    I have been breeding Chihuahuas for 13 years, and have recently switched to NutriSource Small Breed Puppy to feed my puppies. I have been so happy with the results, my puppies do exceptionally well on it, and I was thrilled to see how very small the kibble size was. I will be switching my older retired adults to the NutriSource Senior when I am due for a new bag of food.

  • karen

    My three Cairns thrive on Nutrisource lamb and rice and a variety of veggies and fruit. It is the dogfood of choice of the Fargo rescue where I got my old man Cairn. I talked the owner of the feed store in my small MN home town into carrying it for me and she has switched her dogs (Aussie shepherds and a JRT) to it, also. It’s interesting to read that other dogs’ coats have improved, too.

  • Ashley

    I had my 1 year lab on chicken soup for the pet lovers soul. After a month and still half a bag left I knew something was wrong. She hated that food. I was looking for good food at a great price. After calling several pet stores and getting reccomendations, i came across Nutrisource. I was told it is excellent food at a great price. I went and picked up a bag that day. She loves it! Eats the entire bowl every time. whats great about the food is there is little filler so she eats less and her stools are easy to pick up. I would reccomend this food to everyone who is looking for quality at a decent price. 5 five stars from myself and the dog 😉

  • Hi Sheila… It’s impossible for me (or anyone) to say for sure what ingredient your dog might be allergic to. For that requires testing by your vet. By the way, as my review mentions, only 3 of the 10 NutriSource kibbles contain corn gluten. And there’s even a grain-free version, too.

    There are hundreds of other foods to choose from. But keep in mind, dogs are a lot like us humans. Each responds to a different food in its own unique way. What may be OK for one may be a problem for another. Allergies are associated with a dog’s own immune system. If your dog is allergic to say chicken, then any food that contains chicken will induce the same allergic response in your dog. That doesn’t mean chicken is a bad ingredient.

    In any case, there’s no way I can assure you any particular food will be safe for your dog. And since food is only the third leading cause of canine allergies, it’s still possible the problem isn’t even due to the food.

    My recommendations?

    If you haven’t already done so be sure to read my recent article, “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“. That post may hold a possible solution to your dilemma. Hope this helps. 🙂

  • I bought Nutra thinking it was a high quality food. I have a Great Dane. After going through a few bags she developed yeast infection in her ears. Vet said an allergy to something in the food. I notice Soy Oil in the food and Corn gluten which could be the culprit. I started giving the remainder to my other dog Beagle/Bassett mix and now he is shaking his head as if he also has ear issues. I’m frustrated at this point on what to feed my Great Dane.

  • JMWatt

    I have always fed my German Shepherd NutriSource Chicken & Rice. We tried Innova, but it was not a big hit. She also gets fresh mangoes, carrots, papaya, apples, cheese, yogurt (plain, no sugar), etc and supplemented with raw meat (no pork) though admittedly I sometimes steam the chicken. I know raw meat is controversial for some, but her breeder has been in the business for 30+yrs and said the diet has led to improved health and increased life span of their dogs.
    I took my dog to a new vet (moved last month) and her first comment was “your dog is in such good shape and is so healthy!” I just wanted to share in case other dog owners were considering such a diet. Koda, of course also gets a lot of exercise. Good luck everyone!

    Mike, thanks for the information!

  • Martin

    I am considering using the Nutrisource Super Performance food for my dog, but the only ingredient I am curious about is Salt. It is a little ways down the list but find it curious that it is added, do you think there is anything wrong with this? Otherwise I like the ingredients listed and the protein/fat ratio for my hard working dog.

  • Hi Chris… If this fish meal is preserved with ethoxyquin (something we don’t know here) and due to its eighth position on the list in our example product, there would likely only be a trace of the chemical present. If that concerns you (and to find our for certain if ethoxyquin is present) you’ll need to contact NutriSource customer service at 800-525-9155. I wouldn’t switch until you first check with the company. Hope this helps.

  • Chris Butler

    I’m concerned about the comment from the analysis that I’ve included in quotes below,

    “We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

    Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.”

    I’m thinking seriously about switching my 4 Labradoodles from Canidae All Life Stages to the Adult Chicken and Rice Formula, but I am a little uneasy about this. Any feedback that could put my mind at ease?

  • Hi Vera… I would tend to agree with you on your rating. When the company removed the menadione a few months ago we edited the review but failed to change the rating itself. So, I’ve now corrected this error and awarded this product a more representative 4-stars.

    Our only reservation is the fact that three of the ten products use corn gluten meal to raise the protein. And as you know, plant-based proteins have a lower biological value than meat. Otherwise, we do find this product line quite favorable. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Vera Ahlborn

    I have been feeding my two adult St. Bernard’s NutriSource for several months now, and I will never switch brands again! I tried many premium foods, and all of them gave our 2 year old male terrible Diarrhea & gas! NutriSource is the only brand that agree’s with him! I’m sorry to see it’s only a three star rating, my dog’s would rate it much higher if they could, and so would I!

  • Hi Carol… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular food would result in specific health benefits for your dog’s. In any case, be sure you transition very gradually to any new food.

  • carol doyon

    i got my greyhound 2 weeks ago and was told to put her on purevita chicken and since she has diarrhea and fart..need to change her food any suggestion…

  • Dawn

    Totally agree with you Mike, the original source of gluten is from carbohydrates, starches, grains. Going to a grain free formula when you are going to extrude is a very big challenge in the manufacturing process. That is why a small amount of pure gluten was recommended by extruding experts.

    If the ingredient is found further down in the ingredient listing the purpose is most likely to help manufacturing, but if it’s higher then the logical explanation is a protein boost.

    However with the back lash that occurred from the melamine incident it’s not a safe way to go any longer. Obviously a great protein boost is using egg, which is the gold standard that protein digestibility is measured, and many dog foods are going in this direction.

  • Hi Dawn… You’re correct in assuming pet foods need something special to make the extrusion process possible. But that special something is actually carbohydrates (like cereal grains, potatoes, etc.). It’s almost impossible to make kibble without these ingredients.

    The primary use of corn gluten is to supply additional protein to a food. Yet compared to meat, plant-based proteins (like glutens) have a lower biological value.

    That’s why most kibbles are made without corn or wheat gluten… even NutriSource. With the exception of just three of its recipes, all other NutriSource dry dog foods contain no gluten-type protein-boosters. Yet they’re still machine-extruded kibbles.

    Incidentally, this NutriSource review may soon be revisited. So, look for an update in the not too distant future. Thanks for bringing this important principle to our readers’ attention.

  • Dawn

    For a dog food that is meat based a certain amount of gluten is needed for the extruding manufacturing process. Think of bread. White bread, while light and “fluffy’ has a lot of gluten and white flour, when you go to the potato breads it is heavy and thick. I don’t think they are using the gluten as a protein source, but mainly to get the product to go through the extrusion dies. (I’ve worked in the pet industry for 20 years, but not in dog food, still know how extrusion works though)

    I absolutely love the Nutri Source family of dog foods, they are very upfront and honest about their ingredients, their quality and manufacturing standards and therefore I trust them. They listen to their customers.

    I can’t always find what I need in the pet stores around here so I order online at

  • Hi David… Corn gluten isn’t technically a “filler”. Compared to animal protein, corn glutens are inferior plant-based protein boosters capable of inflating the reported protein content of any dog food.

    So, to answer your question… yes, protein boosters (like glutens) tend to decrease the biological value of the food (and negatively affect our ratings).

  • David

    Thanks Mike. This is helpful. Would the absence of such a filler change the rating? It’s tough to know hard differences between these foods. Guess I’ll just have to watch my dog and see how he does on this. Thanks again.

  • Hi David… NutriSource markets ten different kibbles. According to the company’s website, the Adult Chicken and Rice product is indeed corn free. However, three of the remaining products DO contain corn gluten. Hope this helps.

  • David

    I’ve been feeding Canine Caviar to my 2 year old lab. He’s done very well with it. However, it’s very expensive and I have to travel 40 miles each way to get the food. I’ve been thinking that I could reduce my carbon footprint by buying a food that is made in closer proximity and for which I didn’t have to travel as much (I live in central Iowa, near Des Moines). I was browsing labels at a local store and truck up a conversation with a Nutrisource rep. She convinced me that the “Adult Chicken and Rice Formula” contains no corn and the label mentions no corn products. The brochure claims here is “no whole corn” in the food. Your review suggests that there is. Am I missing something? Is there indeed corn in this product that appears under another name? Thanks, David

  • Hi CHB… There’s sometimes not much difference between two adjacent star ratings. Heck, sometimes I even have a difficult time myself trying to decide which category is most appropriate for a particular food.

    So, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with your decision. It’s all about what’s the best for your pet. One product might be 3 stars to us… but a 5-star food to your dog.

  • CHB

    Thanks, Mike. I thought the rating might go up after the menadione was removed from this particular food, but I now understand you’re rating more than one. Since our dog was a rescue dog, we were given a gallon-size baggie of donated shelter food with at least 6 different varieties all mixed up. She had only been on that food for 5 days after arriving from two other shelters out of state. It was impossible to transition, however, her stools are back to normal after taking her off the grain-free food and she is in great health. Just not right for her. So far so good on the NutriSource, but still considering a 4-star food. Thanks again.

  • Hi CHB… The company appears to have removed the menadione from all its recipes (bravo, NutriSource!). So, we’ve just updated the review to reflect this change.

    However, although corn gluten meal is not found in our example product, it still seems to be a present in three of the other foods in the line.

    OK, regarding those loose stools… it’s always advisable to switch to a new food gradually… very gradually… “dovetailing” the new food slowly into the old food… starting with just 10-20% and very slowly increasing to 100% over the next 7-10 days or so. Also, as we mention in every review, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, (unfortunately) it’s also feasible the food you selected may not be right for your particular animal… even after a week.

  • Andrea

    My senior dog has been on the senior formula for over a year and he’s doing fantastic! He has slimmed down, has a ton of energy and his coat is just.. beautiful. I am a college student and I have a limited budget, this food is fantastic, I’d recommend it to anyone.

  • CHB

    Thanks for your quick reply. I love your site and what you are doing. I was referring to the product label above, the Chicken & Rice Dry Adult and the menadione. I am researching dog food for my new 3 year old Border Collie/Aussie. I live in Minnesota and know that this food is made in Minnesota and would be freshly stocked at my local pet food store. I wasn’t aware that it contained corn gluten because I didn’t see it on this label. I’m also looking at the Precise food. I want a balanced diet for her with no by products or corn fillers. We tried “no-grain” foods last week, and she had loose stools. She is a beautiful dog and we are excited that she was rescued as a stray in Kentucky after the devastating floods in May. I appreciate your advice.

  • Hi CHB… Which ingredients in which products? The removal of the menadione is the only change I notice. According to the NutriSource website, corn gluten still appears to be present in some of the products.

  • CHB

    Just wondering if you will be rating this food again since the ingredients have been altered.

  • marilu

    Dogs started out good. All (3) developed flaky oily coats, diarrhea, and occasional vomiting on this food. Something in this food is not good for any of my dogs!! This is strange. Maybe not good quality ingredients? Don’t know how to tell from the label.

  • 4paw

    Noticed just recently they have taken the corn gluten meal and menadione off the ingredient lists on their website. Looks like an improvement in the right direction. My dogs really like this food.

  • Amber H

    I love this dog food. I have 2 Jack Russell terriors and a working cow dog. The cow dog had pain in one of his hind legs from a previous break. After a few weeks on this dog food he was no longer showing signs of pain, and had a lot more energy. All three dogs seem to like it, their coats look better and they eat less and poo less. Also the Jack Russell’s used to shed really bad (as anyone with a Jack Russell will know) after a few weeks on this food the shedding slowed down a lot. The up front price seems to be a little high but I have noticed that since they eat less it seems to average out about the same as any other dog food. It is worth the price to see my dogs doing so well.

  • Boxer boy

    We have Boxers which are notorious for gas issues. My sister has been feeding this food to her boxer for years and had no gas issues. We switched over from Pedigree and the problem has gone away completely. Our dogs coats look much better than before and both dogs seem to like the food just fine. It may not be the best food out there, but both dogs like it, it was solved the stink problem, and it’s is right in line with the prices of the other premium dog foods. We couldn’t be happier. I highly recommend this food for boxers.

  • susan

    I started to feed this to my dogs a few weeks ago, the one started with an ear infection, and the price seemed to have gone up. When I first saw the product it was about 18.oo for 18 pounds, when I went back to buy it it went up to 25.00 for 18 pounds.

    At this price I would rather feed one of the foods with a four star rating.

  • Social Media

    I agree, my dogs love this food, they eat less of it and their poo doesnt smell as bad. Definitely worth the price!

  • I was looking for a premium dog food, and my vet told me that for the breed of dogs I have this would be a great choice. I have two Siberian huskies (a couple) and after a few days i notice that the fur was nicer and when they had to go, it was hard and nice and they love it. It’s a bit pricey, but is worth it.