Nutro Puppy canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Nutro Puppy product line includes 2 grain-free 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.
Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.
Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb and Potato was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb and Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb, chicken broth, beef liver, chicken, potatoes, carrots, dried peas, peas, dried potatoes, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), guar gum, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, carrageenan, dried yams, sodium acid pyrophosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, natural flavor, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, sodium hexametaphosphate, magnesium sulfate, zinc oxide, thiamine mononitrate, dl-methionine, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||32%||19%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||56%||14%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient lists dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth 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 ninth 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.
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, 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.
Next, we we note the use of 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.
In addition, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
We also note this food contains sodium hexametaphosphate, a man-made industrial polymer with no known nutritive value.
HMP is used in making soap, detergents, water treatment, metal finishing and most likely here to decrease tartar build-up on the teeth.
Although some might disagree, we’re of the opinion that food is not the place for tartar control chemicals or any other non-nutritive substances.
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. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Nutro Puppy Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Puppy canned dog food looks like an above-average canned 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 47% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 21% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
However, with 52% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 30% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, peas, dried potatoes and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Nutro Puppy is a canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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
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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
01/01/2019 Last Update