Nutro Max (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Nutro Max Dog Food gets the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Nutro Max product line includes eight 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.

  • Nutro Max Puppy Recipe Chicken [U]
  • Nutro Max Adult Recipe Beef (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Nutro Max Adult Recipe Lamb (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Nutro Max Adult Recipe Chicken (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Nutro Max Adult Recipe Chicken Mini Chunk [U]
  • Nutro Max Senior Recipe Chicken (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Nutro Max Large Breed Puppy Recipe Chicken [U]
  • Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Chicken (3.5 stars) [U]

Nutro Max Adult Recipe Chicken Mini Chunk was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutro Max Adult Recipe Chicken Mini Chunk

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain sorghum, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated alfalfa meal, chicken, peas, flaxseed, natural flavor, whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, chickpeas, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, salt, zinc sulfate, niacin supplement, biotin, vitamin E supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), manganese amino acid chelate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin D3 supplement, potassium iodide, folic acid, rosemary extract, decaffeinated green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%16%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%33%42%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 42%

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

The second ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The third ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

The sixth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

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

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

The eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

After the natural flavor, we find 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.

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

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

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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.

Nutro Max Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Max Dog Food looks like an 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 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

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

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal, peas, flaxseed and chickpeas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutro Max is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source 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 higher quality kibble from the same company may wish to check out our review of Nutro Ultra dry dog food.

Nutro 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.

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A Final Word

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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.

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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

09/01/2016 Last Update

  • Craig Hutton

    I just went back to nutro max after using other “high end” food… 18n dogs all love nutro max. Im glad your dogs are healthy.

  • FrustratedinCali

    We switched all four of our dogs to Nutro Max products – Chicken Mini Bites for the small dogs (Jack/Chi mixes – 6 years old) and Senior Large Breed for the larger dogs (Lab/Bully mixes 14 years and 8 years old). They are all doing great on this food. We used to use Hill’s products exclusively, as recommended by our former vet, and someone was always having vomiting or diarrhea. We did grain-free for awhile, having been told that the bully-mixes might be having issues with wheat, but in a pinch had to switch to Senior Large Breed when the grain-free was out of stock and all are still doing well a couple of years later now. They really enjoy the food too and get excited at meal time.

  • John

    These foods are poor quality and they’re a scam. Dogs need high quality protein, whether dieting or not. To help a dog lose weight, you just cut back slowly on their portion size while feeding good quality food, not low protein food that’s mostly carbs, which is what puts weight on a dog. It’s unfortunate that so many people fall victim to advertising. There is no breed specific food either. Low protein foods are not good for dogs.

  • John

    The problem is that you keep buying more kibble, which is the problem. These prescription foods are the worst quality foods out there. Read the label for what’s in them. Raw is best, but it can be pricey to feed a large dog if you buy pre-made raw, but it’s the biologically appropriate way to feed a dog. RC and Science Diet are poor quality foods.

  • Sylvia Miller

    Great advice! Thank you!

  • theBCnut

    Previously, I would have said that there are suspected several risk factors for bloat, but they tried using each one to cause bloat and failed on every single one of them. But there is a brand new study out on bloat and they found there was a very strong correlation to dogs with IBD and lack of probiotics in the gut, so you may want to find a good probiotic to put him on and watch for any signs of IBD.

  • Crazy4cats

    Scary stuff! Glad to hear you have it under control. Wishing you many more years of happy pup!

  • Sylvia Miller

    Our vet actually did try that to eliminate the bloat as well. Unfortunately it did not eliminate the other issues after she eat the food. Thanks for advising.always great to share information.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Sylvia-

    Glad you found a food that your dog is doing well on. I wanted to address the issue of bloat since you mentioned she had it and it can be life threatening. The actual food does not cause bloat. Commonly them eating way too fast is the culprit. I would highly recommend a slow feed bowl if you haven’t already purchased one. It will help reduce her chances of bloating again. Hope she has continued success on her new food though!

  • Sylvia Miller

    The large breed puppy formula was recommended when we adopted our 8 month old dogo argentino/pointer mix. She loved it at first but within a few months she developed diarrhea, vomiting, bloat, and terrible gas. Some days she would refuse to eat and we could literally hear her stomach churning and she would just lay around. We took her to the vet for evaluation and some very expensive x-rays to rule out other causes. We changed to Royal Canin prescription formula for sensitive stomachs for a month and then transitioned to Scientific Diet for sensitive stomachs. Not sure what caused her sensitivity to the Nutra Max food but so glad we were able to eliminate her stomache problems so she could get back to being a happy pup.

  • Alli Ed

    yes. I just had this same discovery and I fed Premium edge which also contains Rosemary and my dog had seizures. She is no longer with us. I wish I had known back then. 🙁

  • My shih tzus love love this food. They were eating IAMS and just weren’t excited about it. It’s nice to see them ready for meal time

  • Minne_gurl125

    My dogs luvvv this food. One has a variety of food allergies and Nutro Max is the only recipe of any brand I’ve found so far that doesn’t have anything she’s allergic to in it. The other is a pretty picky eater period but he seems to love this, even above many other food labels we’ve tried.

  • Patricia Fetzer

    My 11 year old Chihuahua has always been on it. He is active , healthy and has a very shiny coat. I believe some dogs just like people may not be able to eat the same things.

  • Francis Mingora

    i seen in utube u put this stuff in dog or cats food it gives theam what the foods our lacking its called dinovite and lickochops its in utube go look all i no its for dogs how stink and scratch and lose there hair go look in utube ther web cite is

  • Hanna

    Our dog was so sick on this food. We switched to a no grain food and he is fine now. I thought because it was made in the USA it would be better. It wasn’t.

  • Labell

    We just started our 2 dogs on this,BAD.Ours are doing the same thing,We were told at Pet store one of the Best.BS grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Poor babies.

  • Guest

    Can someone help me understand why a dog food that is for weight loss or weight control can help a dog lose weight when there is a minimum amount of crude fat and also a maximum amount of crude fat on the label? Shouldn’t there only be a minimum amount for weight loss only? Nutro’s Natural choice small breed weight control adult dog food has a min. of 9% crude fat and a max. of 13% crude fat. I have seen both of these on a few brands of dog foods.

  • nicole sula

    i recently got a doberman puppy and wanted to put him on a better food then i was feeding my 7 year old newfoundland…he was on kibble and bit…so i have been feeding both of them the nutro max large puppy ( yes i know my newf is an adult )and since then my newfoundland hot spots have cleared totally up..he use to eat his butt and tail so bad that it was raw and scabby.. one month on the nutro and he has completely stopped eating himself…both of them love the food and i have had no problems with them puking or having the runs or any type of complaints so far…i know my newf is older but i didnt want to have to seperate them during feeding and create problems with dominanace…this way they have seperate bowls but same food so no problems and have learned to share…and i am so happy with the way the food and helped my newfie !!!

  • carouselmom

    I have 4 dogs on nutro max since they were puppies. They are St.Bernard mixes. Did try cheaper food, but did not like the results. Have not had an issue with the food. Not feeding as much as cheaper food.coat looks great, very active. My understanding as far as vomiting bile is due to not eating in awhile. Have not had that issue unless the one dog choosing not to eat until later in the day. Been familiar with this dog food since it came out many years ago. I do think each dog is different and you need to find what works best for your dogs and breeds. Hopefully therebe no issues with the food. Thankful for the heads up.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    I’m sure that after 7 years of eating this high starch food, your dog probably had a pretty significant yeast infection in his gut. The “5 star food” you changed to probably used white potato as the main binder (90% of grain free foods just substitute potato for grains). So, suddenly he, for the first time in 7 years was having to process higher protein content, and the yeast, which his body was accustomed to fighting (which is the root of many autoimmune disorders) was suddenly given a new type of sugar. I bet you, if you had tried a grain AND white potato free food, plus probiotics and coconut oil, your dog would have transitioned just fine and be very healthy. Give it a try.

  • InkedMarie

    It could be the fact that you fed your dogs one food for seven years. Switching after that is bound to be hard on a dog but this is just my opinion. If I didn’t know that years on the same food was bad, I would have gradually changed quality, going up the chain to eventually a 5 star food, if thats what you wanted. I also would have made sure I had my dog on probiotics and digestive enzymes.

  • mward1993

    Which Nutro product do you use? I know Natural Choice is good for sensitive dogs.

  • otter from TN

    I fed my dog Nutro for the first 7 years of his life. I got on this website and saw that it was (at the time) rated 1 star, so i chose to switch his food to a 5 star. Two months later he was losing hair and had scabs. Not thinking it was the food since it was 2 months later, we took him to the vet. After three rounds of antibiotics and steroids, plus changing his food to another 5 star rated food, there was no improvement after 10 months. I switched back to Nutro and problem solved. Moral: Ratings on this website are based their holistic characteristics of the food. If your dog is doing well on his food, DO NOT SWITCH.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Thanks! I think thats greatthat your girl found her solution.

  • GSW

    Yes, she was on Potassium bromide and had seizures daily, but after changing diets and she stopped having seizures we gradually decreased it to zero, I don’t remember if we talked to the vet about doing it, but she is 15 now.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Yes I get that. What I am asking is if you were able to stop the meds when you say seizure free, or if you are saying that she no longer has break through seizures? My girl had seizures perhaps three times a year..not freq enough to warrant medicating, until a month ago when she had one once a day for 3 or 4 days straight.. my question is my wondering if its ever possible to decrease or stop the meds. Vets say no, once you start medicating its life long due to the influence on the seizure threshold.

  • GSW

    I would just switch for a few months and see if the seizure taper and/or stop – if they do then something in the Nutro was the cause, if not then perhaps try another high quality brand in case the one you switched to has the same thing.

  • GSW

    My dog, a boxer/beagle mix has been seizure free for about 8 years since we switched form Nutro Max to another brand (in our case Orijen), she has also never thrown up yellow bile since then. I do not think the timing of her miraculous healing was a coincidence.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Thats great news. Is she still on the potassium bromide or were you able to stop? One of ours is now on zonisimide for seizures as they increased in freq.

  • Rita McKown

    I have been doing a lot of research lately due to our 10 year old maltese recently having mild seizures/muscles spasms. She has eaten nutro since she was a puppy and we recently started her on the senior toy breed formula. I have read a lot about rosemary extract causing seizures and sure enough – nutro senior toy breed has this ingredient as well as some of their treats. I plan to do more research, but in the meantime, I am stopping the nutro products and making sure rosemary extract is not a part of our precious baby’s diet.

  • GSW

    That’s great, but it was night and day for mine – seven years of throwing up yellow bile and seizures and taking potassium bromide, then we switch food to Orijen (which the vet didn’t even suggest) and they all stopped in a week – she is 15 now and hasn’t had a SINGLE seizure since then.

  • cj

    i have been feeding my 12yr old doberman Nutro Max Senior and Nutro Ultra Senior. we both prefer the Ultra. he has more energy and a shiner coat. teeth are in great shape. i supplement with apples, carrots, snap peas. occasional pig twists. no cookies!
    someone mentioned their dog throws up yellow bile. my dog has done that since birth. no matter what food he eats. he has a sensitive stomach and gets nauseated, like a human would if they havent eaten. vet tests prove no issue.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Many people are currently complaining about Nutro. Save the bag and some food and report this to the FDA.

    You can report the pet food here:

    Remember, nothing will be done about this matter until the FDA receives enough complaints.

  • Damali Blackwood

    We are having a problem with this food. I have a 2yr old Great Dane and a Golden Retriever. Its been a year on Nutro and they are now puking yellow stuff, eating grass all the time and sometimes diarrhea. We are searching for an alternative. I think this food is contaminated and no one is doing anything about it.

  • Jeff Ferrell

    I have given my now 17 year old mutt Nutro for 10+ years, I love the food, has done my dog absolutely no harm.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It could be some contaminant that because it was added to some ingredient before it got to them, doesn’t have to be listed. It could be total coincidence. It could be something that some particular subset of dogs are sensitive to. Thousands of dogs eat this food and are just fine, so it has to be something that doesn’t affect all dogs, if it is not just a strange coincidence. It reminds me of Chinese chicken jerky.

  • I wish I knew, or someone could tell me, what is causing these problems in dogs fed the Nutro foods. I dont feed it, but I hear so much about liver damage, seizures, ect. even death which owners attribute to this food. However, when I look at the ingredients especially of the Natural Choice products…I dont see anything too “bad” in any of the foods. They all look pretty good. They even use selenium yeast instead of selenium selenite. They say their products are so high quality. I dont get it.

  • GSW

    For what its worth we fed our dog Nutro dog food from puppy age through about 7 years – at 1yr she developed seizures and we had her on potassium bromide because the vet diagnosed it as a genetic disorder (sh also routinely threw up yellow bile). At 7 years we decided to switch her food to Origen and within a month she stopped having any seizures and has been seizure free (and yellow bile vomiting free) and is now 15 years old. I do not know what exactly sparked her seizures but it was definitely in the Nutro and I only wish someone had told me to try switching her food years before.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Well if they were puking on Nutro Max and not on Beneful then it’s not the corn in the Nutro that was causing the puking. There are a lot of complaints about Nutro lately, many are speculating that the food is contaminated – I think this was more likely the issue.

  • I’ve fed my dogs Nutro Max, both the lamb and rice and chicken and rice, for about a year and a half. I switched from Beneful (which I fed them due to budgetary restraints). After the switch they both would puke about three times a week. I have a boston and a boston mix. I decided to switch to Beaver Dam Select which has more protein and less carbs and no longer have the puking issue. I consulted a local dog food expert who suggested the reason they were puking was due to the corn in the Nutro Max. The pups are much happier now. It seems to have cleansed their system. I initially bought Nutro Max because it was a good balance between price, quality, and quantity, but Beaver Dam Select seems to be the best bet for us.

  • RebeccaZ

    Bob K: Tracey give a suggestion, and her experience with the product like other people who has the same situation like her, what happen with you!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Thar is absolutely right. It doesn’t matter how good or bad a food is some dogs will do fine on it and some will do terrible on it. The trick is finding the ones that work best for your dog. I just wish that people would search for the foods that their dogs do best on instead of settling for good enough, within reason of course.

  • Springer dad

    It should be apparent from all the responses that one dog food doesn’t fit all dogs. We switched to Max because Merrick got way too expensive when they changed formulations. We mix some premium no-grain food about 3to1 and our dogs love it and are doing very well. Keeps the cost per pound down too.

  • Red Dawn

    The Weight Control version of this food was the only one that helped my dog lose weight. It only has 266 cals per serving, the Ultra line has 300 cals per serving. I tried the Ultra, but she didn’t lose any weight. Any other recommendations for a low cal food?

  • Nicille

    I appreciate your input Dtousx2 – as I am currently trying to figure out why my 5 dogs have all been vomiting off and on for 2 weeks. I suspected it was due to the change up to Nutro Max and now I am sure. I don’t care if they have had recalls or not- 5 dogs don’t lie.

  • Green queen

    We have both a cat and dog on nutro max and have two healthy, active animals. I’ve tried the natural choice, and even tho I feel it is higher quality, the results do not differ and the price can be an objection. Go for it.

  • ktriemstra

    Hell, I would feed him julienned Korean runaways right now to get rid of the smell of a sauna filled with the lifeless bodies of the Iowa State wresting team like he does right now.

  • Pattyvaughn

    That’s a good plan. CS is only as good as the people feeding it believe it to be, so for you, not so much. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait, I’d go ahead and mix 50/50 or donate the CS to a shelter, just to get it out of the house. Having several foods that you can switch between is a really good idea for your dogs health, but since Essy is such a gas bag, you might want to consider only trying small bags of a new food. Some good foods that don’t break the bank are Whole Earth Farms, Merrick, Fromm, and NutriSource. Don’t switch to a new food just so you can empty your wallet. If you feel a real need to do that, I can give you my address.

  • ktriemstra

    I don’t know anyone from New Jersey, but I might give Ultra a chance. I mean if they feel the food is that great to put the word “Ultra” in it then it must must be top notch. I ended up feeding my dog Nutro Maxx and he was doing great compared to his previous food. After reading all this great info I had this guilt trip that if I was not going hungry feeding my dog then I was a bad pet owner. So I changed food for no real good reason and got Chicken Soup For the Puppy Lovers Soul. I opened the bag and found that my 35 pound bag of soup had congealed into little chunks. I was both perplexed and relived at the same time because I had nothing to store 35 pounds of soup. Anyway the dog stinks again as he did with his previous food. So now I have to endure this 4 legged sulfur emitter till the bag is gone. I am going back to Nutro Maxx and supplementing it with yogurt, sardines, eggs, and Chili Cheese Fretos.

  • fefesquared

    Has anyone in New Jersey used Nutro Ultra?

  • annie

    Just started feeding my 3 bostons nutro max puppy food and it’s already making a big difference. They are eating way less and pooping way less and seem more satisfied. Glad i switched to this.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Purina has been going down hill for years unfortunately.  And I just wouldn’t trust Diamond to do the right thing ever.  The FDA inspection after the last recall was a real eye opener.  I will never take the chance with my dogs on their food after reading that, especially since they brag about their 151 quality control checks on their bags.  If they will lie that way, so publicly, they will do pretty much anything.

  • annie

    Rural king is the only store close to me that carries nutro max and they have lots of different flavors etc. It’s reasonably priced, i’ve also been pricing different foods as far as sizes etc. I usually leave a bowl of food out through the daytime and they just munch. I’m home all day so i can monitor them all the time and i usually know how much they eat. lol…

  • annie

    I’ve heard that switching foods once in awhile is good for them. I’ve always fed purina puppy chow/dog chow since i was a kid with no problems whatsoever but now these bostons are not doing great on it like the dogs in the past did. I’ve heard it’s gone downhill since nestle took it over and i’ve read bunches upon bunches of bad reviews on purina here lately. I did feed diamond 1  time in the past and that boston and boston mix got sick and nasty so i said no more but then some people told me the recalls were just on the regular and not naturals so i thought well maybe i’d try it although i was still kinda worried about recalls and what happened the 1st time i used it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If you’re going to feed Nutro Max – I’d mix the canned formula with the dry. The Nutro Max canned really doesn’t look too bad, it will boost the protein levels of the dry and it’s very reasonably priced for a quality canned food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No pain;-)  Everyone starts somewhere.  I give you a lot of credit for doing some research.  Rotate through all the flavors, there are good things about giving your dogs different meat sources.  Still consider finding another brand to use after you have gone through all the Nutro flavors.  All dog food brands have different vitamin mixes, so when you switch brands you are giving your dog a slightly different nutrient profile.  No dog food is perfect, so rotating is really healthy.

  • Bob K

     annie – Nutro Max is a 3.5 star rated food. Certainly better than a 1 or 2 star food.  Since its readily available to you and affordable, it would be a decent choice.   My local Menards carries both Nutro Max and Diamond Natural at affordable prices.  I always check the dates and look for sales.  Also measure the food, don’t guess

  • annie

    I talked to a bunch of people on several pet sites nd they said they have had great success with nutro max. They said it stays with their puppies/dogs less poop shiny healthy coats and good weights and they also said they haven’t seen any recalls.The stores they purchase their food from hasn’t pulled any of it. I finally made my FINAL DECISION lol… I decided to go with nutro max puppy and see what happens. I’ve seen several different flavored puppy foods from nutro max at the tractor supply store that i go to from time to time. I had several people tell me i need to switch foods because if the skin and coat is dry and they poop all the time then it’s not doing any good which i kindd that, but i blamed the pooping on just being puppies. But anyways i appreciate all the info and help. I apologize for being a pain in the rear too.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Fromm and Merrick both have good and economical foods.  Nutro Max only has one puppy formula, I believe.  It doesn’t matter if you try one thin figure it’s not working for you and move on to something else.  Rotating diet is good for dogs, it helps them to develope and keep a healthy gut.  Your pups need more than their current food is giving them or they wouldn’t have dry coats. 

  • annie

    I know it’s the internet and all kinds of things get said, but it’s just at the time i was looking to switch it kinda worried me even if it’s not true. I think i’m going to stick with purina puppy chow they are doing good on it but there coats are dry and dull. I’m tired of trying to find a decent food and i wouldn’t really know what kind of nutromax to get even if i did switch to this. There’s so many. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Did you notice Dtousx didn’t respond when questioned?  This is the internet, where people can say anything, true or not.  Did you do further research and find information about a recall?

  • annie

    o great lol… i was planning on switching my 3 boston terriers to nutra max puppy. Guess i won’t now due to recalls. Don’t know what to feed them. i’m not happy with the results of purina puppy chow or iams. I’ve read a lot of complaints about purina one.

  • Bob K

     Dtousx2 – Recalls – When and where? 

  • Dtousx2

    I recently took my lab off of Nutro Max natural chicken and rice formula. He vomited each time he ate it – my vet told me Nutro brand has been recalled several times. I am now using Propac with no problems.

  • Ktriemstra


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Once your dog gets used to rotational feeding there should be no need to transition slowly – you can just switch from one food to the other. When I fed kibble my dog got a new food every 2-3 weeks with no transition. My dogs are now on a raw diet and get something different at each meal.

    Kefir is a fermented milk drink. It’s kind of halfway between milk and yogurt in terms of texture. It’s full of probiotics (it has way more than yogurt) and has a decent amount of protein as well. My dogs get about 1/3 C. every other day.

  • Ktriemstra

    I thought I read in one of your post maybe it was someone else’s that after they get used to rotating food their is no need to transition slowly because their digestive system gets used to it? I just don’t want to be in a state of perpetual transition but I don’t want him to have stomach issues either. Also what kefir?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Ktriemstra –

    You can rotate as often as you want. Some do it after every bag of food, others rotate every few months.

    Eggs, yogurt and tinned sardines are all great toppers for dry food. Some other good toppers are: cottage cheese, kefir, any lean meat leftover from you meals or steamed low glycemic veggies.

  • Ktriemstra

    So I have been feeding my dog this food for a few months and have had what I consider very good success. His gas problem is almost non-existent and he was developing a hot spot which is nearly healed up. What I don’t like about this food is that it’s got so much grain in it’s recipe.  I want to rotate him with another food (I was thinking Whole Earth). Do I do it every couple of months, every couple of bags? Another question I got is I put an egg or yogurt in his food 2 or 3 times a week, what else is something good I throw in his food once in a while? I was thinking sardines, I actually eat sardines so we always have a 3 or 4 cans on hand.

  • Ktriemstra

    I got my dog from a rescue that fed him old Atari games and Pop Rocks. 

  • Bob K

     Tracey – Since when is an Animal rescue an authority on pet nutrition?

  • M Ward1993

    try taste of the wild, natural balance, or premium edge. They are all great and affordable.

  • I run a rescue outside of Atlanta. For quite some time I’ve been feeding both dogs and cats the Nutro Max line and I’m switching! Their stools are horrible on the Nutro Max. The entire rescue has incredibly soft, mushy stools which is an indication they are not getting what they need. While I am NOT an Old Roy fan, I have tried the new Pure Balance and it’s actually really good. The dogs are doing so much better when they eat this brand.

    Nutro Max is definitely NOT a recommended brand from Claws N Paws Animal Rescue! 

  • Pattyvaughn

    What you’re describing sounds like a very common reaction to grains and high carb diets. When I started having similar problems with one of my dogs I switched over to a high meat protein low carb brand called Brothers Complete Allergy Formula in the evening and I feed him a balanced raw called Darwins in the morning. I’m not giving my dog any meds, just the food change, and he’s doing much better. He’s only been on the new food for about 2 months and he’s not very itchy, doesn’t stink, isn’t oily feeling, and he’s almost grown a whole new coat of much softer, shiny fur.
    The food definitely costs more but it’s a lot less than vet visits, drugs, etc…

  • I was told by my vet to switch to the lamb and rice version of this food to treat or to help with my American Bulldog’s problem with skin allergies and reactions. I also had to give her benadryl and even prednisone. Also, she has a terrible odor even though we bathe her every 7 to 10 days with a shampoo he gave us available only with prescription. Needless to say, this has become very costly and even this food is not very inexpensive. I hate watching her go through these breakouts as she must feel as miserable as she looks. Especially when you include the side effects that come along with the prednisone. None of which we want to expose her to. She only goes outside to relieve herslf and also for her walks and runs in the yard for excercise… Please help…

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Dianne, the added meat is always a good idea, as is the coconut oil.  Rice is completely unnecessary and actually unhealthy for dogs.  It is full of gluten, anti nutrients like phytic acid, and, of course, starch.  Instead of buying a “mid quality kibble” and adding stuff to it, why don’t you just buy a decent 5-star grain free kibble and feed that?   

  • Dianne

     This is a helpful site, thanks for creating it.

  • Dianne

     I have used sweet potato in place of the brown rice sometimes and that helped firm up the B M ‘s as well. This is challenging stuff!

  • Dianne

     I am wondering if I/3 of any 3 star + dog food mixed with 1/3 brown rice and 1/3 boiled meat ( whatever you dog can tolerate) and half teaspoon of raw virgin organic coconut oil on it would solve a lot of dietary problems. I am leaning towards that for my medium sized  8 month dog who has reached about 75% of his height and weight. Any objections on this strategy?

  • Dianne

     Good for you I go to Augusta a lot. too bad I can’t buy the food and ship it back to NJ

  • My background is in law enforcement ~ I’ve worked in various areas of the field since graduating from Purdue University in 1988, with a BA, majoring in Criminal Justice.  

    Currently, I work as a Probation Officer in a particularly high crime area.  Based on my experience, there are a substantial number of irresponsible pit bull owners that have done more harm than good for the breed by contributing to the breed’s perpetuated stereotype as an inherently vicious, aggressive dog.  

    There are literally hundreds of pit bulls and pit bull mixes in no-kill shelters and rescues in my area; because, many of these dogs have not been spayed / neutered and have been allowed to roam free ~ thus adding to pet overpopulation.  Many of these dogs cannot be re-socialized because of their time spent in the fighting pit and are destined to spend their lives behind the chain link of the shelter.

    American Pit Bull Terriers are predisposed to be very loyal to their owners.  They were originally bred to be fighting dogs.  In the early 20th century, pit bulls served an important role as working dogs on farms and ranches; even serving as messengers in World Wars I & II.  However, more recent irresponsible ownership has led to a great deal of legislation regarding pit-bull type dogs, adding fuel to fire that the breed is generally dangerous and highly undesirable.

    It’s going to take generations of responsible pit bull owners who properly socialize and obedience train their dogs for the overwhelming majority of society to change its perspective of the breed. 

  • Jona P1990

    Connie: Just because a dog has a bad reputation does not mean it is bad.

    How would you like it if someone prevented you from having children because a few people gave you and your family a bad review? Really consider it for a moment. You would probably be outraged.

    These animals have no say in what humanity does with them and people like you only make their situation worse. They are already being treated terribly and your solution is to get rid of them after all they’ve been through? That’s disgusting.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for letting out a comment like that.

  • connie

     stop breeding pitbulls too many of them get bad homes and end up in pitbull fights.    dont add to the population

  • TopTrainer8816

    Im trying to figure out why retailers always default to prescibing wellness or blue with out trying to figure out the dogs specific needs, for instance many dogs gi tracts cant support the high level of probiotics and many dog owners are unable too feed these brands for that reason so a another product may be an excellent choice, not to mention the fact that some of the excessive protien levels in these products can cause toxicity issues and make dogs ill.

  • Orwildd

    I’m talking about NutroMax. Not plan Nutro. Use NutroMax, small kibble for adults in a pink bag, and NutroMax for Puppies in a pink bag.

  • Orwildd

    I used to feed my dog Kirkland dog food, until my dog was 11 years old because I thought that was good for my dog. My then boyfriend saw me feeding my dog the kirkland food and told me to stop right there and throw out the rest of kirkland dog food because it was really bad for my dog and switch him to Nutro for seniors. It took 1 week and my dog turned from a lazy old dog to a puppy. My dog lived longer then the average beagle. 17 years. PLUS the vet was impressed with him having clear skin. The nutro has ingredients for arthitis etc… My dog never displayed any problems throughout his life because of Nutro.
    I would never again feed my animals anything but Nutro! Recently, my fathers new girlfriend was talking to me about all the vet bills, medicine etc… She had to give her dog. She said she was “making” her own pet food, with the best ingredients. The dog had hardly any hair, losing it in chunks. I told her 3 months ago to STOP and gave her a sample and her dog absolutely loved the Nutro. Today her dog has all her hair back, no itching problem, easy on the stomach and the dog is completely off vet medicines! Yeah!!!

  • Donnie

    I switched my dogs over to max about two weeks ago.. They love it! I was feeding them blue before but can no lnger afford it! I highly recommend max great food at a great price!

  • Liz B.

    I also get this at the $33 for 33lbs price at my local Petsmart. This is in Augusta, Ga. Also there is currently a manufacturers coupon for $5 off. Hope this helps.

  • Drhoolin

    where do you live that its 33lbs for $33??
     evereywhere ive been its been closer to $45 for the 33 lb bag

  • ibluepit

    Hi I go with nutro max over any walmart or grocerystore brand…but I thought I liked it until I read the horrible reviews like very toxic,waste, but I pay about $33-33lb bag at petco probably the best I can do right now any better suggestions in this price range???

  • SKonkol

     There is definitely still corn gluten in this dog food.  I went yesterday looking at dog foods and that was one of the reasons I didn’t go with it.  I don’t know if the new formula hasn’t hit this Petsmart I went to, but it was definitely in the bag I picked up.

  • Marie

    Ugh, whatever. Nutro has had plenty of recalls in its 70+ year history …and you don’t pack your own food anymore, Mars does…

  • Nutro associate

    This is what happens when companies do not pack there own food……associate of Nutro

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Freddyknuckles, my dogs are on Kirkland chicken  rice right now and doing well. You are paying a premium price for a mediocre dog food. Nutro is very grain heavy. Wheat, wheat flour, ground rice, rice bran, corn gluten meal, are all undesirable ingredients. Look at some of the 4* rated foods that are not made by Diamond and choose something with better ingredients.

  • Freddyknuckles

    I am aware of the need to transition slowly. The BJ’s food was discountinued leaving us in the lurch. We went out to buy more and it was GONE. Thanks BJ’s. We didn’t have enough left to do a smooth transition that we usually do. Thank you for the suggestions.

  • Bob K

    Freddyknuckles – You don’t just switch dog foods, you transition slowly.   Also if you are feeding your dog a chicken and rice based formula and your dog is doing well then look for a better Chicken and rice formula.  Too many people just switch dog foods and go to a completely different formula which can cause issues in many dogs.  Diamond Natural – Not Diamond, they are different formulas.  Nutro Max is rated 3.5 stars which is not all that bad.  For Nutro Max prices there are more 4 star foods in similar price range including some: Canidae formulas, Native Performance, Whole Earth Farms, Native Performance, Eagle Pack,

  • Freddyknuckles

    Thanks for the quick response. We tried switching to the Kirkland brand and they suffered serious bouts of diarrhea and vomiting including blood. Very similar to comments by S Stack in the Kirkland Dry thread. I am afraid of a bad batch. For that reason I will be staying clear of Kirkland and Diamond. For lack of other options They started on Nutro Max but I will be looking into the other options you suggested. Thanks again.

  • Bob K

    Freddyknuckles – A few ideas of less expensive 4 star rated dog foods.  Kirklands only at Costco, Diamond Natural – Menards and other stores, Healthwise, Premium Edge, Eagle Pack, Professional to name a few.  I am not sure whats in your area, Menards, Farm & Fleet and some farm supply stores have a good selection at a decent price. 

    Remember to transition slowly to a new food.  Shop sales and coupons can also save some money. You can always add in some egg or diced chicken for additional meat and protein of your 

  • Freddyknuckles

    Could you give me some examples of the 4 star foods that are less money Bob? I have been a follower of this excellent website for ten months now and I am srtuggling to find good quality, kibble with more protein from meet than grain. We used BJ’s brand but they discontinued it.

  • Tiredofcorporations

    They have changed their packaging of the Natural Chops Bisquits and now the packages have 32oz, versus 60oz for $3.00 more.  Do they really think we wouldn’t notice?  I switched to Iams for now. 

  • Marie

    Maybe so for the dog food, but their cat food has corn gluten meal as the second ingredient. Nutro’s dry cat food sucks. I saw a Nutro rep out right lie about it once and got a cat owner off of Blue WILDERNESS of all things to switch to that crap called Max Cat.

  • Hi Memory Layne,

    I’m aware of this recipe change. Unfortunately, due to my current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before I get to Nutro Max.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Memory Layne

    They no longer use the synthetic vitamin K in any of their products. Also, they are no longer using corn gluten. The whole Nutro Max line was reformulated as of last year, so I hope this site will go back and update these reviews.

  • Gwmyers4

    I just checked a bag of Nutro Max in the store and found that Menadione is no longer listed as an ingredient.  I confirmed that on the website.  Is this something new or are they calling it something else

  • Bob K

    Nutro Max – Now Available at some Menards stores right next to the Diamond Naturals – Yeah – -Thank You Menards for providing affordable 3 and 4 star dog foods. Nutro Max is a little over $1.00/lb and Diamond Natural is a little under $1.00/lb. Both are affordable kibbles.

  • Shawn

    The Nuto Max Beef & Rice does not have chicken as it’s first ingredient. I was giving them Diamond natural Beef & Rice but the store was out of it so I got the Max because it is so close in ingredients. My dogs love it. Where would rate this one?

  • Michelle

    My (2) pitbulls are on Nutromax and are doing fantastic weighing in at 116 and 120lbs solid(my mini chihuahua mix sometimes try to sneak a bite with her buddies)!! Very healthy, shiny coats, clean teeth, and less poop! I feed them the large breed puppy. I also have 8 pitties (pups) that eats this mixed with eggs and plain yogurt. As with any dog foods, I top off with gravy from time to time and on weekends and ever holiday I cook them a special meal(what they get will depend on the holiday).

  • Bob K

    Roland – This is a 3 star food and nothing special for the price you pay for it.. You can get 4 star foods for less money that provide better nutrition to your loved one and leave more money in your pocket. You should transition your dog slowly to a new food over a period of about 2 weeks slowly moving the dog from the old food to the new food by mixing the foods in different percentages. What did your dog eat before? Why did you switch? What do you like about the ingredients list? What were the ingredients of the old dog food? Perhaps you want to find a better food with a similar ingredients list that may be easy to transition your dog to.

  • Roland

    After researching different dog food brands, I decided to switch my dog to Nutro Max a little over 3 weeks ago. I like the ingredient list and felt this was a more nutritional quality product. Since the switch, my cocker spaniel hasn’t had a solid bowel movement. Clean up is a nightmare. Also, the odor from the waste is horrible. I understand there is an adjustment period for my dog when changing his diet but this should have passed between 1 and 2 weeks. This brand is not for us. Time to find another food. (sigh)

  • boo

    Nuto Max is a great product. My dogs coats are shiney and they have zero gas and litte poo’s. They do better on this then they did Merricks Whole Earth Farms

  • Hi Meagan… Not making any further changes for a few weeks. Waiting for our software to be modified to permit their inclusion in the listings.

  • Meagan

    Hi Mike-
    I know you are doing half stars now and I was reading these comments and saw that you and Jonathan were talking about

    “I like to think of Nutro Max as more like a 2+ or a 3-… Natural Choice as a 3- or a 3… and Ultra as a 3 or a 3+.”

    Just thought i’d point it out in case you want to change their star ratings 🙂 I have been readin so many of these reviews and forget what i’ve read lol so I can only imagine you possibly trying to remember everything you have said on here.

  • Jonathan

    Karen, you should check YOUR facts, where ever it is that they come from. Because the ingredients listed are right from the package of Nutro Max. And while it’s not “loaded” with corn, it certainly is loaded with wheat, that item being the #1 most common cause of dog food allergies. And corn gluten meal is not an “only” kind of thing like you treat it. It’s actually worse than just ground corn, because it boosts the protein listed in the GA, but isn’t a quality, usable protein for a carnivore. And being that it contains synthetic vitamin k, as well as the corn gluten, this food is still a “two star plus” to me. Particularly when you consider that Pro Pac only contains ground corn AND is a few bucks cheaper, this food doesn’t deserve a full recommendation.

  • Hi Karen… Sorry you feel our facts aren’t right. I’ve looked everywhere over this review and I find no mention the product is “loaded with corn” (as you claim). The ingredient list reported by Nutro does clearly show corn gluten meal present (a corn-based protein booster made directly from corn). And when judging the protein content of any dog food it is imperative to consider the presence of this inferior (compared to meat) source of amino acids and protein in the food.

  • karen

    All this talk about Nutro and your facts aren’t right.
    Nutro is NOT loaded with corn. There is no corn in any level of the line, just corn gluetin meal. Check your ingredient definitions.

  • Jonathan

    Wow! what a quick response! I can definitely agree that with NC and Ultra, it’s really “splitting hairs”. I was looking at a bag of Ultra today at the store and noticed how it claims to contain “3 meat proteins” but two of them take a spot behind a ton of split grains just before the fat. I can see NC as a 3- and Ultra as a 3+. It’s just the Max… I can’t quite bring myself to “recommend” something that contains such large amounts of not only corn, but wheat. I would personally have to give Max the “2 star” treatment. Almost every day I have someone buying a bag of food like Iams or Max or Pro Plan or Eukanuba or SD and at the same time, buying a bottle of hot spot spray. And I get to talking to them about how corn wheat and soy, all used with great gusto in those foods, are the top three causes of reactions to dog food allergies… like itchy hot spots, hurt tummies, and ear infections. And I talk them in to trying Wellness or Blue Buff or, sometimes, Ultra, and many of them report, in as little as one bag later, that their dog’s problems are going away. So when I have first hand experience all the time with dogs that have been fed minor allergens for so long that it has started to wear on their poor little bodies, I just can’t recommend a food with two of the worst possible food allergy offenders in the top 5 ingredients, you know? And when the heck is Nutro gonna bring it on with a GRAIN FREE product? Isn’t is about time they catch up?

  • Hi Jonathan… You’ve got the right idea. It’s just that none of these Nutro products even comes close to the low quality of the other 1-star dog foods on our website. Check out a few of them and look at how much worse they are than Nutro Max.

    For the most part, I’m in agreement with your assessment. But I feel the differences between the three product lines aren’t all that dramatic.

    I like to think of Nutro Max as more like a 2+ or a 3-… Natural Choice as a 3- or a 3… and Ultra as a 3 or a 3+.

    In any case, your point is valid and well-taken. Nutro Max may not deserve this “recommended” category. I may have soon adjust it lower. Thanks for sharing your analysis.

  • Jonathan

    Hello! I very much like your web site, although this one area bugs me… why is Max and Natural Choice just as recommended as Nutro’s Ultra line? I work at a pet food store and I only recommend Nutro’s Ultra line (really I just recommend Blue or Wellness to everyone unless they “have to” have nutro) because of the prolific use of low quality grains in the other two lines. Especialy the Max line! I would place Max with store brand dog foods. Anything with that much wheat and corn and “poultry fat” AND synth k… So what i wonder is why you give a 3 star rating to all three line, all three of which get progressivly better than the last? I personaly rate Max a 1 star, NC a 2 star, and Ultra a 3 star… just on the “yes” side of recommended. For the price, there are MUCH better foods than all three of Nutro’s lines but if i HAD to feed one to my dog, I wouldn’t go below Ultra. Plus, the Ultra Adult doesn’t contain corn gluten meal.