Nutro Max Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Nutro Max Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.

The Nutro Max Grain Free product line includes the 4 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Lamb [U]
  • Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Salmon [U]
  • Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Chicken (3 stars) [U]
  • Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Chicken Mini Chunk [U]

Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Lamb was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutro Max Grain Free Adult with Lamb

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Chicken meal, dried potatoes, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), peas, deboned lamb, lamb meal, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, potassium chloride, salt, dl-methionine, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, taurine, niacin supplement, biotin, vitamin E supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), manganese amino acid chelate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract, decaffeinated green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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 dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The third 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 next 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.

Next, we find 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 sixth ingredient is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 seventh ingredient is lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The eighth 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.

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 4 notable exceptions

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

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

In addition, 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.

And lastly, this food includes chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Nutro Max Grain Free Dog Food Review

Based on its ingredients alone, Nutro Max Grain Free looks like an above-average kibble.

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 56%.

Which means this Nutro product line contains…

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other kibbles.

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

Bottom line?

Nutro Max Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Nutro Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Nutro. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

10/01/2019 Last Update