Nutro Puppy Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Nutro Puppy canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Nutro Puppy product line includes 4 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.

  • Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb Pate (3 stars) [G]
  • Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb and Rice Bites in Gravy [G]
  • Nutro Puppy Tender Chicken and Turkey Bites in Gravy [G]
  • Nutro Puppy Tender Chicken and Oatmeal Pate (4.5 stars) [G]

Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb and Rice Bites in Gravy was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb and Rice Bites in Gravy

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 28% | Carbs = 22%

Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, lamb, lamb liver, ground rice, wheat gluten, dried egg product, whole rice, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salt, oat fiber, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, guar gum, natural flavors, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, xanthan gum, sodium alginate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, sodium ascorbate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), zinc oxide, choline chloride, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, biotin, potassium iodide, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%28%22%
Calorie Weighted Basis32%51%17%
Protein = 32% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 17%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second 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.1

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

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 ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fifth ingredient is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although wheat gluten contains 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The eighth ingredient is 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.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

And lastly, with the exception of copper, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Nutro Puppy Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Puppy canned dog food looks like an 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 43%, a fat level of 28% and estimated carbohydrates of about 22%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 21% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutro Puppy is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats and organs 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.

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.

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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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Notes and Updates

08/05/2017 Last Update

  1. 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