NutriSource Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

NutriSource Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The NutriSource Grain Free product line includes 9 canned 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 Grain Free Seafood Select [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Mediterranean Select [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Prairie Select (5 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Lamb Formula (4 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Chicken Formula (3 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Woodlands Select (5 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free High Plains Select (4 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Heartland Select (2.5 stars) [U]
  • NutriSource Grain Free Great North West Select (3 stars) [U]

NutriSource Grain Free Mediterranean Select was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

NutriSource Grain Free Mediterranean Select

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 26%

Ingredients: Beef, lamb broth, lamb liver, lamb, chickpeas, agar-agar, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, salmon oil, sunflower oil, kelp, betaine, taurine, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, brewers dried yeast, Yucca schidigera plant extract, selenium yeast, copper proteinate, magnesium oxide, cobalt proteinate, manganese proteinate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%25%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis32%48%20%
Protein = 32% | Fat = 48% | Carbs = 20%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is lamb broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is lamb liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2

Lamb is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The fifth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is agar agar, a natural vegetable gelatin derived from the cell walls of certain species of red algae. Agar is rich in fiber and is used in wet pet foods as a gelling agent.

The seventh ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorous. In addition, this additive is used in canned foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we find sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

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.

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 Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, NutriSource Grain Free looks like an above-average wet 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 41%, a fat level of 25% and estimated carbohydrates of about 26%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 34%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

However, with 48% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 32% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.

Bottom line?

NutriSource Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended (except for the Heartland Select recipe).

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.

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.

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

12/04/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  • SportstHER

    I have on 2 occasions. On 6/13/17 and 7/4/17, via the contact form on their website and via their Facebook page. So far only the social media admin has responded from my first post in June. I suppose I could write an actual letter, but c’mon its not a good sign when concerned customers are ignored!

  • Pitlove

    Hi SportstHER-

    Make sure you contact NutriSource about this problem. They are an awesome company and care about quality control and safety. They will want to investigate.

  • SportstHER
  • SportstHER
  • SportstHER
  • SportstHER

    I’ve been feeding my pups all 4 varieties of NutriSource Grain-free canned food as a kibble topper for almost a year now. They all like it and I’ve been reasonably satisfied with the quality of the contents. In my search for a more affordable canned grain-free food, I gave Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Turkey & Pea stew a try (Costco). They all hated it and it seemed lower quality (with fewer Kcals per can) than the 5 star review it received here. Its soupy and stinky, so we are back to NutriSource canned. Something that has disturbed me about NutriSource Grain-free Chicken formula is the last few cans have had big chunks of red plastic in it! I was shocked the first time and pulled all the cans with the lot# P7NLCH2011A – time stamps of 07:27 to 07:32. I had 4 cans in a row of that lot. 2 of those have had plastic! Not sure if there should be a limited recall for this, but if any of my little dogs had eaten those jagged pieces of plastic, it would have resulted in a trip to the vet! I returned the suspect cans to have the retailer put it right back on the shelf and my spouse inadvertently bought them again!! I have contacted the retailer and the manufacturer and no one seems to care.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5feae69bdaa4ab85d044edb66d031604fe06a6ebf907228a82edc01d85fd42a.jpg